December 7, 2014

“Food on the Home Front: Wartime Production, Preservation and Deprivation on the IU Campus” Exhibit Q&A

Carrie Schwier is Assistant Archivist with University Archives and Records Management and organized the exhibit.

What inspired this exhibit?
Conveniently, this year’s Themester topic on food movements coincides with campus celebrations in observance of the 100th anniversary of WWI. It seemed like an excellent opportunity to tie into both.
In your opinion, which pieces are of most interest? Why?
I think the most interesting parts of the exhibit are the stories of individual students, faculty and community members and how they chose to participate in the war effort. There is the story of sisters Lorena and Dorrit Degner who withdrew from classes during WWI to work on their family’s farm, the Hennel- Henricks family who chronicled their efforts at food preservation through canning, drying and ingredient substitution, and during WWII IU faculty and staff such as Football Coach Bo McMillan and Lee Norvelle who planted gardens on campus and even in their own front yards. I always feel that a local connection to history makes it more accessible to students and in this case the above mentioned students and faculty occupied the same spaces as those of today. I think that link is powerful.
Why will the issues represented apply to students?
With the increase in present-day discussions about the local-food movement, back-yard gardening, and food sustainability it’s important to remember that these aren’t totally *new* topics of consideration. There is always something to be learned from the way our ancestors approached adversity and these same issues. Wartime food-movements also offer an excellent lense from which to explore issues such as community involvement, the role of the university and wartime on the home front.

The “Food on the Home Front” exhibit will be on display at IU Archives until December 19th. The Archives are open weekdays from 8am-5pm.

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