On Exhibit in New York: Life During Wartime

November 15, 2012

New York City played a critical role in the national war effort during World War II, with the city’s workers doing everything from building ships at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to manufacturing uniforms at Brooks Brothers.

Some 900,000 New Yorkers numbered among the 3.3 million service members deployed out of New York Harbor—at the peak of the war, a ship left every 15 minutes. In a new exhibit this fall, WWII & NYC, the New York Historical Society explores the impact of the war on the city from 1939-1945.

The exhibition, which runs through May 2013, was curated by Marci Reaven, the society’s vice president for history exhibitions. Columbia historian Kenneth Jackson, former president of the historical society, served as chief historian.

The exhibition features four sections touching on a range of issues from disagreements over whether the United States should enter the war to the struggle over civil rights, the influx of refugees and the Columbia scientists who worked on the atomic bomb.

More than 300 objects are on display, including artifacts, photos, posters, paintings, maps, music clips, radio broadcasts, film footage and newly recorded eyewitness accounts.