In June, William H. Long, a WWII veteran, contacted the web designer of the American Memorial Park's website and informed him that he had several photographs from his experiences during his service in the Pacific during WWII. The web-designer on Saipan then forwarded William Long's message to the War in the Pacific's Museum Curator, Tammy Duchesne. About the same time that Long had emailed the web-designer, Duchesne had applied for a grant to develop a WWII website for WAPA. After receiving the forwarded email, Duchesne was very interested to see the photos and thought that these photos might be great assets for not only the museum collection but also for the proposed website.
Over the course of a couple weeks, Duchesne and Long emailed each other and Long provided scanned images of some of the photos from his scrapbook. Long's scrapbook included many photos of nose art and civilian life on Saipan. The scanned photographs that were emailed to Duchesne were beautiful and very interesting.
After some deliberation, Long generously decided to donate his scrapbook and its almost 100 photos to War in the Pacific National Historical Park in Guam. Long's donation will enable people from all over the world to see what the Pacific looked like during WWII in 1944.
William Long and his beautiful wife Joan were kind enough to meet Duchesne in New Orleans where Long described the photos and detailed his experiences while serving in the Pacific during the war. These photographic resources and first hand accounts of WWII will be preserved forever, as will the meaningful friendship that evolved from this meeting.
Long’s irreplaceable photographs from 1944 will be carefully protected in the museum collection while selected images from Long’s scrapbook are included in this website. In addition to using web-media to share these images with the public, War in the Pacific NHP, American Memorial Park, and the Arizona Museum Memorial Association will be using these images and other aircraft art images from the War in the to develop a traveling trunk exhibit which can be easily assembled, displayed, transported, and sent among different venues and exhibit halls in Guam, Saipan, Micronesia, Hawaii, the US Mainland, and other interested geographies. While War in the Pacific NHP remains without a museum and American Memorial Park waits for their museum to be constructed, this traveling trunk exhibit will provide people with the opportunity to view and appreciate the museum collection photographs while the corresponding text will interpret the history behind the aircraft art or “nose art” phenomenon. In addition to these images gracing a traveling exhibit and interpreting a portion of WWII, aviation, and Pacific history, these images will also be used on mugs and merchandise items in both the park’s bookstores. These images, which use to grace B-29 bombers, can now accentuate various merchandise items so that veterans and park visitors can remember or reflect on an art-form that was popular on the runways and airfields of bases throughout the Pacific and European theater during the Second World War.
Thanks to Bill Long’s scrapbook donation, a traveling exhibit will educate people at different venues and sites while merchandise objects will allow veterans, historians, park visitors, and nostalgia-seekers the ability to take a part of WWII history home with them to remind them of the history they learned at War in the Pacific, American Memorial Park, or at one of the venues that hosted the traveling exhibit. This cooperative venture shows how while museum collections are kept under tight lock and key, creative and innovative ideas and strategies can be used to make collection items available and accessible to teach history in non-traditional methods using eye-catching and traveling mediums.