Bringing War Home
War is saturated with objects shaped and carried from battlefields to homes. Sometimes such objects end up in Museums, but the personal stories of how such objects came to make journeys from Vietnam, for example, to rural Utah often do not.
One of the main goals of our project is to disperse basic tools that will allow veterans and members of military families as well as the general public to understand the things brought home from war.
The stories featured in this segment are from a 2018 roadshow event hosted by UPR and USU's class "1918 Anglo-American Culture and Society in a World at War," where the community was invited to bring in objects from World War I and to tell their stories.
JR Dennison of Mendon, UT brought in an artillery shell that his grandfather had tooled into a vase while stationed in France. John Rendall brought a few chaplain’s crosses and his father’s draft orders. Dorothy Jones of North Logan brought several journals kept by her family during the war.
Out of these objects and stories came the Bringing War Home project, where Dr. Sue R. Grayzel and Dr. Molly Boeka Cannon hope to work with the community to create a digital archive of the objects of war and their stories.
Dr. Susan R. Grayzel is a Professor of History at Utah State University, where she teaches classes on modern European history, gender and women's history, and the history of total war. Her current research includes separate projects on gender, citizenship and civil defense and on the material culture of modern war. This latter research will appear in the forthcoming book The Age of the Gas Mask: How British Civilians Faced the Terrors of Total War, a history of the civilian gas mask and its role in the British empire’s response to chemical weapons.
Dr. Molly Boeka Cannon is the Director and Curator of the USU Museum of Anthropology and the Mountain West Center for Regional Studies, and a Professional Practice Assistant Professor of Anthropology. She teaches classes on museum studies, North American archaeology and anthropology, and GIS applications in the social sciences, and her research focuses on material culture and human-environment interactions.
Annika Shinn is a grad student in the History Department at Utah State University and a Research Assistant for the Bringing War Home project. Her current research interests include martyrdom, twentieth-century war, and religious history.