6 Things I Learned Working At A Military Museum


For the past several months I have been employed in a contract position with a military museum.  It was a wonderful experience and I took advantage of it by reading dozens of books from their library and asking questions every time I got the chance.   Working with the curatorial team allowed me the chance to not just read or hear about artifacts and their significance but to actually see and even touch some of them.  All that being said, here are six of the things that I was glad to have learned:

  1. During WWII the military hired prominent fashion designers to create women's uniforms to entice them to join the force.  
  2. This practice was clearly done by the time the 1970s rolled around, as evidenced by the presence of awful sea foam green dresses. 
  3. You can buy parts to repair almost anything from tanks to boots online.
  4. I learned that the walking stick that fellas in suits used in the early 1900s are called "Swagger Sticks" and that many people owned several of them. 
  5. At the end of WWII everything that the soldiers used was recycled and passed down to future soldiers. At the end of WWI, the world believed that there would never be another war -- that it was the "war to end all wars."  Because of this, soldiers were allowed to  take their equipment and uniforms home.  In the 1920s, one could find helmets used in households for anything from flower pots to utility buckets because they were easy to find and inexpensive.  Thus, WWI uniform parts in good condition are rare and highly sought after. 
  6. I never thought much about the origin of the expression treating something with "kid gloves."  But while cataloging a pair of "kid-skin gloves" I learned what it was.  The soft, velvety leather is so buttery smooth getting slapped with them wouldn't hurt a fly.

I'm sure there are many other lessons I learned, some less interesting than others.  I am so grateful for the opportunity to work at the Minnesota Military Museum and to have met the wonderful employees, volunteers and board members. 

Tara Cajacob

Hi, I'm Tara!  I am more than a huge fan of history, you might say I'm a little obsessed.  I would spend a Friday night in with a glass of local wine and a reference book any night of the week.   Learn more about me and my work here

Keeping House like an OLD Pro - 1941-1950

January is National Organization Month and also National Hobby Month, so I thought, why not combine the two and find  out what the latest fads in cleaning and organization have been throughout the past century.  This is part 5 and we'll be looking at the the WWII Era, for part 1 covering the turn of the century click here , for part 2 covering 1911-1920 click here, for part 3 about 1921-1930 here, or for part 4 discussing 1931-1940 click here.

World War II swept the United State radically changed the role of women, they were no longer primarily homemakers with the occasional job outside of the house.  Now they were their own breed of freedom fighters, saving the world by working in factories, growing victory gardens and patching old garments.  Yet another way that women in WWII were expected to rise to the call of duty was through caring for their own sick.  Today we will be revisiting a later issue of the Cornell Bulletin for Homemakers entitled "Home Care of The Sick"  published in 1943.  



The sickroom should be kept neat at all times, with the dresser drawers and closet doors closed; window shades straigth and even; blankets folded and put away when not in use; soiled drinking glasses, used tissues , and the like removed; and medicines out of sight, in the dresser drawer.  

One must, however, guard against insisting on order to such an extent that the patient feels that he must lie absolutely still in bed to avoid disarraying the covers, or that he cannot have newspapers, magazines, or recreational materials on hand to use as his illness permits.  


The room should be cleaned once a day, preferably immediately after the bath and after the bed has been changed in the morning.  Rugs may be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner or carpet sweeper.  Wooden floors may be cleaned with oiled mops.  Dust cloths, a fresh one every day, should be oiled, or moistened with water.  

If the floor is covered from wall to wall by matting or carpet and if the absence of electricity makes the use of a vacuum cleaner impossible, the carpet will have to be swept with a broom in the following way: First soak several newspapers in water, wring them out very dry, tear them in small pieces, and sprinkle them over the carpet.  After about five minutes sweep the floor: little dust will be raised.  

For the full text of the Bulletin click here. 

Tara Cajacob

Hi, I'm Tara!  I am more than a huge fan of history, you might say I'm a little obsessed.  I would spend a Friday night in with a glass of local wine and a reference book any night of the week.   Learn more about me and my work here

Red Cross 1942

Propaganda poster to promote knitting for the troops during WWI. Circa 1914-1918.

Propaganda poster to promote knitting for the troops during WWI. Circa 1914-1918.

For all of you history buffs who are knitting fanatics, too.  (C'mon, I know I'm not the only one!) I thought you'd find this as fantastic as I did! It is a collection of patterns from the Red Cross for soldiers at war during World War II. 

I love propaganda posters.  I love how they become timeless emblems of a nation united for a cause.  The idea of knitting for soldiers during times of war is far from a new one obviously.  But the thought of being so generous during times of great poverty, when everything from clothing to food was being rationed.   Did you know during WWII that women's clothing was limited to no more than three buttons? (A good thing to know when you are shopping for vintage buttons!) 

Yet the willingness to fill the need, ripping apart old clothing to make clothing for the men fighting overseas, phenomenal. 

One of my favorite little details about these patterns is that they aren't simply retyped... they are actual scanned images of the original patterns, yellowed, tattered edges and all!


I hope you all enjoy, to see the patterns Click Here!

WWII Hangar Dance

WWII Hangar Dance

This past Friday was my husband and my fourth anniversary (how time flies)! To celebrate we decided to went to the Goodhue County Historical Society's World War II Hangar Dance. It was my first experience going to a hangar dance, and let me tell you, it was: Amazing!!