We explored the first two of our permanent galleries in March and April: American West and Deadly Beauty. This month’s article delves into the beginnings of our second-floor galleries, specifically the World Wars.
After creating the first-floor galleries and the opening of the museum, it was time to fill the second floor of the museum. In late 1996, the World Wars gallery began to form.
First, the World War II gallery opened on Pearl Harbor Day, December 7, 1996. In this gallery, visitors view artifacts from both the Allies and Axis powers, including items personally owned by significant figures. One of Adolf Hitler’s personal silver sets is a cornerstone of the gallery. Additionally, visitors see items removed from Italian dictator Benito Mussolini’s home at his capture, including photos of his parents and a servant’s bell pull. Other interesting items include Rupert – the parachute dummy, rifles recovered from the Battles of the Bulge and Iwo Jima, and an M1942 “Liberator” pistol of the French Resistance.
Following the development of the World War II gallery, a World War I gallery was created. Opening on Veterans Day 1997, this gallery mimicked the design of the World War II gallery in its display of artifacts by powers, Central and Allied. The western front featured trench warfare. This gallery features a walk through trench with weapons used in this type of combat. Other items on display include an American’s French Legion uniform, an anti-shrapnel mask, and a trebuchet-esque grenade launcher.
Today, these galleries continue to be a large draw for the Berman Museum. Make sure to check out next month’s article as we explore the next of our second-floor galleries, Arts of Asia.