On the Anniversary of Pearl Harbor

Submitted by Peter Buettner on

December 7th marks the 73rd anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. In the months following the crisis, the Cleveland Museum of Art volunteered whatever resources, buildings, or personnel in its possession to the war effort. In the February 1942 Bulletin Thomas Munro stated, "Our National emergency calls for subordination of all other interests to military and industrial effort. The museum willingly recognizes the priority of every means of strengthening and speeding that effort." At the same time, Munro advocated not to weaken peace-time institutions, that museums offer the valuable contribution of building public moral.  While offering a place where people in [those] anxious days [could] forget their worries for a time, the museum also offered a place for learning and helping the war effort.  Exhibitions like Can America Be Bombed? educated the public about possible dangers (the museum itself had an air raid disaster plan). At the same time, exhibitions like Artist for Victory: Posters demonstrated artists' contributions to the war effort.  The museum also grew a Victory Garden, held wartime lectures, and safeguarded some of Europe's treasures. These photos of museum galleries provide insight into how the museum responded to the war effort.