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Dodge County historical society hosts Homefront Exhibit

KASSON — Stories and photos now on display at the Log Cabin on the Dodge County fairgrounds illustrate a time when sacrifice was standard.

"Minnesota Homefront: World War II" is open Thursdays through Saturdays until May 7.

The traveling exhibit includes disturbing photographs of starving young men — conscientious objectors who volunteered for a University of Minnesota Starvation Experiment — a video tale of women miners and a reproduction of a colorful poster calling on housewives to save their waste fats for explosives.

There’s a touch screen with stories and music from the era, including "Get on the Road to Victory" by Bing Crosby and a tune from The Andrews Sisters.

The exhibit was created by the Minnesota Historical Society with dollars from the Land and Legacy Amendment. A grant from the state historical society brought the exhibit to Dodge County, one of five sites to host the traveling exhibit this year, said Cheryl Finnegan, director of the Dodge County Historical Society. The outreach effort is a great way to support smaller historical societies throughout the state, she said.


"We’re pleased to have it … it’s just really well done," Finnegan said.

The historical society added their own touches to the display. There’s artifacts from the Dodge County Historical Society Museum in Mantorville, including a Marine Corps dress uniform and an Army uniform and overcoat. The Army uniform and overcoat were recently donated by Wynton Christians of Hayfield. There’s a ration book and a gas mask; a sad iron and a book featuring Hopalong Cassidy.

There are also two wall-sized posters, courtesy of the Mayo Clinic Historical Unit, that highlight efforts of the Mayo Clinic Aero Medical Unit during World War II. The unit was responsible for the first G suit and developed the first human centrifuge in the United States.

The exhibit’s youngest visitors aren’t forgotten. There’s a table with a craft and colorful children's books from the Southeastern Libraries Cooperating Greatest Generation History trunks, Finnegan said.

The collaboration with the Mayo Clinic Historical Unit and SELCO is a first for the DCHS, she said.

Dodge County Historical Society will continue its recognition of the Greatest Generation at its April 16 annual meeting. World War II veteran Allen Buss will share his experiences and a re-enactor will portray Minnesota Gov. Harold Stassen, who resigned from office to serve in World War II.

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