Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 22, 2010

Museum recreates WWII Christmas scenes


BENZONIA — The Blue Star flag in the window and Victory Liberty Loan poster on the wall set the Christmas scene at the Benzie Area Historical Museum right in the middle of World War II.

A showcase of the 1940s holiday homefront, "I'll Be Home for Christmas" is complete with wartime table linens, appliances, furniture and reminders of soldiers not home to celebrate.

"World War II is always a popular theme among our visitors so this year we decided to take our Christmas decorations in that direction," said Louis Yock, director of the Museum where holiday exhibits will be on display from noon to 8 p.m. this Friday and Saturday and from noon to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

A towering Christmas tree, decorated with vintage hats, is the centerpiece for the museum decked in holiday regalia.

"Every year we try to incorporate what we have, we have a lot of World War II era items and the tree was just one way to show some of them off," said Yock, who is pleased to also have an exhibit of wartime currency on display over the holiday weekend.

On loan from the American Numismatic Association, "Victory at all Costs: Money of WWII," tells stories of the era through coins, paper money, war bonds and other means of payment used during the war years.

"What I find most interesting is the concentration and POW camp currency," Yock said.

In addition to a 10 Reichsmark note from a German POW camp and 1 Reichsmark note from Buchenwald Concentration Camp, the exhibit features Allied Forces military currency, war ration books and tokens, Hawaii overprint notes and military decorations awarded to soldiers and civilians for bravery and service.

In conjunction with the museum's holiday display, Habitat for Humanity of Benzie County's Festival of Trees and silent auction will feature 25 fully decorated trees, including one decorated by Bear Lake resident and former television personality Carol Duvall.

Admission for the Festival of Trees and holiday exhibits at the Benzie Area Historical Museum is free, however admission donations benefit both organizations. The museum is at 6941 Traverse Ave. in Benzonia. For more information, call 882-5539.