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Destination Indiana: How Evansville contributed to the war effort during WWII

Destination Indiana

“The world must know what happened and never forget.” That quote from General Eisenhower greets visitors as they walk into the Evansville Wartime Museum. The goal of the museum is –

“To understand and realize what a contribution this city [Evansville] made to the war effort to win that war. Without the defense factories and the home front people of the United States, that war would have lasted longer and we would have lost more lives.”

Since Memorial Day 2017, the exhibits inside the museum take visitors on a journey of what life was like for families in Evansville during World War II.

First stop, the Home Front Gallery, which tells stories of how the community assisted the war effort in a major way by creating more than 300 products.

“Only place in the United States that made ships, planes and ammunition,” says Dona Bone, the Evansville Wartime Museum Events Committee Chair.

The Community Gallery shows people how the USO in Evansville helped, along with the Red Cross Canteen, serve soldiers with a homemade hot meal.

“Even the children participated a great deal. Either at their schools or working in the factories.”

Nearly all the artifacts are donated from residents of the Tri-State including uniforms of soldiers from the war. And people are always stopping by, offering to donate more items.

The Honor Gallery highlights the bravery of soldiers from the Tri-State during both world wars.

The Main Hall features trucks, toolkits and planes that were produced in Evansville, including the Hoosier Spirit Two, a P-47 built in Evansville.

P-47 Tarheel Hal
‘Tarheel Hal’ arrived at the Evansville Wartime Museum on October 17, 2020. It was later renamed ‘Hoosier Spirit 2.’

“6,242 P-47 Thunderbolts just down the road in a factory that was right next to the museum, Republic Aviation.”

Not only can  you take a tour at the Evansville Wartime Museum, but you can also participate in several events. Up next: July 9-11 is Warbird Weekend. You can take a tour of four vintage warbird planes as well as a flight. First Responders weekend is September 11. There’s even a Halloween bash in October.

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