Museum transformed for two days
At no time were the separation and sacrifices of World War II more acutely felt than at Christmas. In the four years—from the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor to the surrender of Japanese forces in August 1945, the country struggled to keep the spirit of season alive despite shortages, uncertainties, and missing loved ones.
Imagine then, the joy of the first post-war Christmas celebrations. Better yet, join us the first weekend of December when the Woolley House is t...
ransformed to tell the story of “Home for Holidays, 1945.”
For two days, 11 to 4, Saturday and Sunday, December 1 and 2, the Museum becomes a stage for telling the story of the local homefront and recreating the joy of Christmas and Hanukkah, 1945.
It was an extraordinary time in our history. At war’s end, the U.S. government went to heroic lengths to get GIs so long separated from loved ones home for the holidays. “Operation Magic Carpet” returned tens of thousands of GIs from Europe and Asia. “Operation Santa Claus” expedited their discharge.
Veterans filled the airports and train and bus stations to overflowing in their rush to get home. Strangers hosted stranded veterans. Neighbors reached out to those who had lost loved ones. For the first time in years, goods and materials once needed to supply the warfront were available on the homefront.
Hanukkah, 1945, fell early and was celebrated on November 29. It held special significance for families in light of the horrors of the Holocaust.
The holidays of 1945 were an unprecedented and perhaps unmatched time of celebration, gratitude, and joy. Housing shortages, unemployment, labor strife, and civil injustices faced the nation. But for a few days, the country could put its challenges aside and rejoice in the war’s end and the return of loved ones.
Our “Home for the Holidays” weekend captures the spirit.
- A mini-exhibit contrasts the bitter-sweet war year holidays with the exhuberance of 1945.
- War-era model trains, doll houses, and toys fill the Our Town Gallery
- The Ocean Township Garden Club fills the Woolley House porch with freshly made wreaths and swags
- A Holiday Shop and Bakery--filled with one-of-a-kind, handmade crafts (perfect for gift-giving) and homemade goodies to eat and share--take over the Hearth and Home Gallery.
- There’s a “Santa Hunt” for the kids, caroling by the Ocean Township Choir at 2 on Sunday, walking tours of the Museum grounds Saturday and Sunday, and, as always, the drawing of the winning quilt raffle ticket Sunday at 3.
“Home for the Holidays” is another in the Museum’s series of exhibits and programs exploring the World War II homefront. Our major exhibit, “Loved Ones Go to War: Local Stories of World War II” forms a backdrop for this two-day event.
Start the celebration of this year’s holiday with a visit to the remarkable season of 1945. Consider holiday shopping for locally crafted, hand-made gifts from our Holiday Shop.
Please join us.