Linden Hill exhibit to show how the homefront ‘made do’ during WWII

By Tina Snell, Staff Writer
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Linden Hill is in a flurry. Volunteers are everywhere, getting ready for the opening of the Minnesota Homefront traveling exhibit, beginning Sat., Jan. 21. The eight-week showing, in conjunction with the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS), will be held in the Weyerhaeuser home. Linden Hill will be open seven days a week, from 9 a.m.  – 3 p.m., to accommodate all the visitors.

Linden Hill is preparing for the Minnesota Homefront exhibit to open Jan. 21, and run for eight weeks. In conjunction with the Minnesota Historical Society (MHS), the exhibit will show various article from World War II, along with panels depicting the war effort here at home. Pictured at top are (from left): Linden Hill volunteer Mel Kurowski and volunteer Larry Sharon holding up the recently unpacked welcome banner on loan from the MHS. Pictured below is a small portion of the exhibit on loan from Charlie Pautler’s private collection of World War II memorabilia.

“We already have several bus tours coming, and special children’s  programs planned,” said volunteer Sheila Burski.

Besides the more than nine crates of items and panels from the MHS, Charlie Pautler has loaned clothing, insignias and equipment from his private collections to the event.

During World War II, the U.S. Government asked the citizens who were not fighting to sacrifice and support the war effort from home. The MHS panels on display at Linden Hill depict the home front, and what people were doing to help. Increased military demand created shortages of goods at home; rationing became the norm. Along with everyone else in the country, those in Morrison County had to adjust.

Minnesota companies switched from their usual products to manufacturing for the war. Locally, it was a bit different. Farming was heavily involved with the effort and every woman who knew how to knit, made scarves, hats, mittens and socks for those in the military.

“We will have knitting examples on display of what the local women were making,” said volunteer Mel Kurowski.

There will also be personal letters from local individuals to their men overseas and letters home.

Stories can be read about local heroes, one of which was on the first flight of the B-17 Fortress which was shot down over Germany and the crew became prisoners of war.

“Those boys were placed on a forced march, longer than the Bataan Death March that is more well-known,” said Kurowski.

Taken from the Weyerhaeuser and Musser collections are many items relating to WWII. Richard Drew Musser was on the local Victory Fund Committee and sold bonds to help the war effort.

Rationing was a big part of everyone’s lives during the war. Sugar, meat, flour and more were in short supply. In the exhibit is a cookbook with recipes using limited supplies, which were obtained with ration stamps.

For more information on the Minnesota Homefront exhibit showing how citizens “made do” with rationing, a labor shortage and more, contact Linden Hill at (320) 616-5580. There is a charge to see the exhibit.