V-J Day Commemoration

Today marks the surrender of the Japanese during WWII in 1945. As a family we went to a nice local WWII event at Rose Hill Manor in Frederick, MD. It was small, but it was the perfect size event for a laid back Saturday and the perfect way to commemorate such an important, historic day.
48 Stars & Stripes

Foxhole with an air-cooled machine gun.
These guys did a great job of explaining the details of the gun.

This gentleman showed us how ground communications worked on the battlefield.
This field phone actually worked and he let us use it. Very cool!

A little paratrooper humor :-)
 Everywhere we went, reenactors had little portable '40s radios playing period music. It made for a very nice atmosphere. The radios were all hooked up to some mp3 device or iPod of some kind. Period look on the outside, modern technology on the inside. So awesome. It makes me want to go out and find an old radio right now and rig one up myself!
Soldier's Tent

 The paratrooper unit had this neat mock setup of the back of a plane. Kids could put on a fake parachute, the soldier would tuck a cord into the pack with a clip on the opposite end, and clip the kids to the line/wire running along the ceiling. Then they'd say, "Green light," and then shout "Go, go, go!" The kids jump out through the door onto a mat as if they were parachuting out of a plane. It was pretty cool.

Women's civilian and military camp set up
This camp set-up was really neat. Usually at some kind of historical event when you hear "civilian camp" you automatically think "camp followers". Not so with this camp! This was strictly a 1940s version of "we are going camping in nature on the weekend and this is all the stuff we need for a fun weekend camp out". It was great! I also met some really nice ladies from a newly formed civilian group called "The War Years Society" based in the Mid-Atlantic. I'm very excited to pick these ladies' brains on civilian & homefront stuff for reenacting! Yay!

I loved all the details for this camp set-up. She even had a bucket with wartime magazines.
Because you can't go camping without some good reading!

This picture is inside the Nurse's Quarters. They had a very nice set-up in here too. 

 And of course I had to snoop in her trunk which was conveniently opened. I'll admit I opened a few of the cosmetic cases to have a look. Very cool. ;-)

 I was very impressed with inside the manor. They had set it up for the WWII event and had posters, newspapers, signs, and mini exhibits everywhere. I especially liked these little boxes that you could push a button and hear a recording of specific radio programs like FDR's fireside chats, the announcement of the bombing of Pearl Harbor and of the dropping of the atomic bombs in Japan. 

A sweet old time radio with the box on top with recording.

In the dining room area, they had set up a mini, hands-on exhibit about wartime rationing for the homefront and for soldiers. In two separate drawers they had a "smell" test to see if you could recognize different things they ate during the war. Some of them were really hard to tell! For many of them they had little candle scent cubes.

Inside the cabinet which had labels like "Open Me!" they had a mini exhibit about rationing for soldiers.
Down below in the basket were "play ration" items that kids could use to put together their own ration kit to play with.
Very cool!

Upstairs my daughter had fun ironing with a vintage iron.
She also liked playing with the treadle sewing machine they had.

A beautiful 1946 wedding dress.
After the war, wedding dresses were scarce since so many weddings took place as soldiers came home!

In another upstairs room they had all sorts of neat vintage toys the kids could play with.
Here my son is playing with toy WWII soldiers. I was pretty excited he was so absorbed.
Usually he's not into playing with figurines, but when I went to see what he was doing, I saw he was setting them up like dominoes to knock down! haha! So, not really playing "army guys" after all. Oh well!

Outside they had a few kids crafts including making this Victory magnet.
My son did a great job making his really sparkle!
Other crafts included making a clothespin & popsicle stick airplane,
and color a Rosie the Riveter poster.

Rose Hill Manor is a self-professed "children's museum", which I found curious. But once inside I could see that this was a fabulous example of what a children's museum could be. Every room held something for the adults, and then corresponding activities, games, and toys for the children to learn from and enjoy. It was one of the most impressive things I've ever seen in a museum, and it wasn't complicated, it wasn't techy. It was just brilliant. I loved it! And my kids did too. They had such a great time playing with and exploring everything. Museum success! Great job, Rose Hill Manor!


  1. Wow! This looks awesome! I love their attention for detail, it looks really impressive. Also the old radio hooked up to an iPod sounds so fabulous!!!


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