The newest exhibit at Heroes Hall will focus not on the battlefield, but on stateside messages of persuasion, the propaganda posters of World War II.
Some 28 posters are featured in the Fighting on the Home Front: Propaganda Posters of World War II exhibition that is on loan from the Detroit Historical Museum through May 3, 2020. An opening reception will take place at Heroes Hall on Oct. 5 from 3 to 5 p.m.
To augment the traveling display, the OC Fair & Event Center team added videos of propaganda cartoons produced by Walt Disney Studios and Warner Bros. to the exhibition as well as WWII newsreels.
Another addition to the exhibit is a Victory Garden planted with fruits, vegetables and herbs. Created in collaboration with Centennial Farm, the garden illustrates how people grew their own food to help the war effort.
The themes of the exhibition are conservation, recruitment, patriotism and security, highlighting how persuasion was used to encourage those on the home front to do their part to help win the war.
Messages of the posters include “Can All You Can,” “Uncle Sam Needs Nurses” and “The Battle-Wise Infantryman is Careful About What He Says or Writes – How About You?”
Americans at home were urged to travel less to save gas and tires, take summer jobs on farms, work safely to prevent accidents, help keep prices down and to ration food and other goods.
Fighting on the Home Front explains why posters were so effective in conveying messages from the government. From the exhibit: “In an era before television, posters were an efficient way to grab someone’s visual attention. The U.S. Government leveraged the graphic arts to pass information to civilians and soldiers. Several different U.S. departments enlisted the help of the nation’s most talented artists to create these posters which often contained emotion-evoking scenes and succinct phrases to deliver messages in a mere glance.”
While the word “propaganda” may carry a negative connotation today, the term is used here to describe posters that were specifically created to persuade people to alter their behavior in support of the troops overseas.
These posters were created by government agencies such as Office of War Information, War Production Board, Office of Price Administration, Office of Defense Transportation, Office of Defense Health and Welfare Services, War Manpower Commission and War Food Administration.
Fighting on the Home Front can be viewed during regular Heroes Hall hours, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday; closed Mondays and Tuesdays.