Saginaw Museum Displays AP Collection
of WWII Photographs
While our fathers, brothers, sons and friends were fighting on the fronts during World War II, those back home relied on members of the press to report the latest wins and tragedies. The Associated Press, the world’s largest news service, had nearly 200 reporters and photographers risking their lives to deliver news back home. Now, you have the opportunity to see these wartime photographs and share the story of World War II with your family at the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum at Saginaw Valley State University.
Memories of World War II: Photographs from the Archives of The Associated Press will be on display at the museum from Oct. 5 through Jan. 19, 2013. The exhibit’s 126 photos were culled from tens of thousands of pictures in the AP archives, including material from AP photo files in Europe and Asia that have not been seen since the war.
“Our objective was to bring back for the reader the immense scope as well as the individual tragedy and challenge of World War II,” said Chuck Zoeller, director of The AP Photo Library and curator of this photo exhibition. “We wanted to create a photographic record that allows a younger generation to better understand the sacrifices made by men, women and children in all the nations touched by the conflict.”
At a time when our youth face a future learning of WWII only in their history books, it’s fitting that this exhibit come to the Marshall M. Fredericks museum. Though it’s been more than six years since the museum hosted a photographic exhibition – something much different from the usual artifact and sculpture pieces that fill the museum, it’s more appropriate than you can imagine.
“World War II was a defining moment for Marshall Fredericks,” said Marilyn Wheaton, director of the museum. “Shortly after Pearl Harbor was bombed, Marshall Fredericks decided he had to join the service and serve his country. He left his post at Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he was teaching, and joined the service and spent three years doing his part in World War II. I thought (this exhibit) was a great opportunity to make a connection to Marshall Fredericks.”
The renowned sculptor not only served on the war front but when he returned home, created works of art to commemorate the war. The Cleveland War Memorial Fountain: Peace Arising from the Flames of War (also known as the Fountain of Eternal Life), was installed in downtown Cleveland to commemorate those who served in World War II. It bears the inscription: In honored memory of those who gave their lives for their country.
The exhibit also provides the opportunity for families, and our surviving World War II veterans, to see these rare photos and relive a history before it’s too far in the past for a first-hand account.
“I think it’s very much in everybody’s mind that our World War II veterans are quickly leaving us and I think this is just an important time to be honoring them with this photo exhibition,” said Wheaton, whose father is a World War II veteran.
Lectures and Luncheons
To compliment the photo exhibition, the museum will present an exhibit dedicated to Marshall Fredericks and his war years – presenting information on his service and wartime sculpting. There are also two lectures planned – both are free and open to the public.
On Thursday, Oct. 25 at 7 p.m., author Robert M. Edsel will be speaking for the Ninth Annual James E. O’Neill Jr. Memorial Lecture for SVSU. The lecture, entitled “The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in the History,” will tell the story of the Monuments Men – a group of art lovers who chased down great works stolen by Nazis during World War II and saved great art from destruction. The lecture will be held in the Malcolm Field Performing Arts Theatre at SVSU and is co-sponsored by the Field Neurosciences Institute and the Dow Visiting Scholars & Artists Program.
Local historian Eric Jylha will speak about the Great Lakes Region - Bay Region’s contributions to the war effort on Thursday, Nov. 1 at 4 p.m. in the Rhea Miller Recital Hall at SVSU.
“World War II played such a profound role in changing the course of history in the world, and I think that brings a certain pride to people in our country,” Wheaton said. “There seems to be a lot of interest in the history of World War II and America’s role in it.”
Wheaton said the museum plans to host a November luncheon to honor its local veterans, and is working with local veteran organizations in planning.
The exhibit is made possible in part by a Michigan Humanities Council major grant award of $12,500.
“If we hadn’t have received (the grant), I have no idea how many hours, days, or weeks I would have needed to raise the money. The Michigan Humanities Council has given us twice now a major grant, and both … were such a success,” Wheaton said. “It signaled to me that humanities exhibitions are important to people in this region. …The humanities tell the stories of our people; people want to know those stories and know them better.”
The Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum is only one of six in the country dedicated to a single artist – don’t miss this great opportunity to see the stories of WWII and learn of Michigan’s famed sculptor.
“This is such a complete, educational museum,” Wheaton said. “And then to come here and see this exhibition in the museum and come to understand the relationship between this artist and the war in which he served, … I think it’s all important and significant.”
Admission to the museum is free. The museum is open Mondays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. For more information on the museum and this exhibit, visit www.marshallfredericks.org or call (989) 964-7125.
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