ABAC’s Georgia Museum of Agriculture Gallery Opens American Relief Posters of WWII Exhibit Oct. 21

October 1, 2021

Colorful posters and memorabilia from World War II come together for a dynamic new exhibit beginning Oct. 21at the Gallery at the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Georgia Museum of Agriculture.

Museum Curator Polly Huff said “Work, Fight, Give: American Relief Posters of WWII” offers visitors a wide-ranging collection of original relief posters and memorabilia that provide an exciting new window on understanding a watershed event in our nation’s history.

“This is the first exhibition to challenge our traditional memory of World War II, putting relief efforts at the forefront through an array of visually exciting poster art, ‘Cinderella’ poster stamps, photographs, banners, and programs issued by the various relief agencies and by the National War Fund,” Huff said.

The National War Fund was an agency created by President Franklin Roosevelt in early 1942 to consolidate the hundreds of relief agencies that sprang up to aid those countries and peoples devastated by war. The Gallery hosted “Beyond Rosie: Women in WWII” in July as a pre-cursor to “Work, Fight, Give.”

“This exhibition also focuses on artisans who shared their artistic talents to design posters that were aimed at the hearts of Americans, to persuade citizens to donate their time and resources,” Huff said. “Many of America’s top artists and illustrators designed the relief posters, and they often employed historical, mythological, and cultural symbols representing various countries and cultures.”

The posters branded and differentiated various agencies all competing under the National War Fund name. Both the artists and the agencies were proud of their posters, which frequently became the face of an agency’s fundraising efforts. In addition to the posters themselves, this exhibition offers context of the posters in action, through images of the artists, along with agency leaders, movie stars, well-known personalities, or simply volunteers proudly showing off their posters.

Hal Wert, professor of history at Kansas City Art Institute, curated the exhibition, which was organized by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.

An ExhibitsUSA spokesperson said, “This is not the story of courage in combat, not the story of the dropping of bombs, rarely the story of rattling machine guns or the bursting of artillery shells.

“It is the story of those motivated to do something about the carnage and chaos left behind when the din of battle subsides, and the armies move on. Relief organizations in big cities and small towns alike found creative ways to mobilize Americans and collectively raise millions of dollars to help those in war zones.”

Huff said the poster imagery employed by the National War Fund and its relief agencies, today rarely seen and largely forgotten, will allow the Museum visitor to experience this stupendous effort to aid those in need in a visually and intellectually exciting venue.

“While the exhibition is historical, the material will be new to most viewers,” Huff said. “It is as well contemporary (temporal) and reveals a universal theme—we are ‘our brother’s keepers.’ ‘Work, Fight, Give’ serves as a powerful reminder of the continuing need for philanthropy in a tumultuous world, and how the greatest generation met that challenge.”

The exhibit will be included with paid Museum admission, and free with a valid annual pass. Exhibit hours are from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, and 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturdays. The exhibit will remain on display until Jan. 19, 2022.

For further information about “Work, Fight, Give” and future exhibits, interested persons can contact Huff at phuff@abac.edu.