The Archives was awash with activity on Monday, December 2nd. Twenty grade schoolers, grades 4 and 5, visited the normally-quiet reading room. Their excitement and energy filled the room as they looked at the Children’s Posters from the Hawaiʻi War Records Depository. For many of them, it was hard to contain their enthusiasm and remain quiet as they tried to interpret the meanings that these children, now the age of their grandparents and great-grandparents, painted into their posters. For those of us who have been in the field for a while, it was amazing to see so much excitement about looking at archival material.
Our exhibit, “War Through a Child’s Eyes: World War II Children’s Victory Posters from the Hawaiʻi War Records Depository” had already come to a close and been taken down. However, one of the children from the class, whose mother works here in Hamilton Library, had seen the exhibit just before it came down. He was excited about the exhibit due to his class studying about World War II and being assigned to interview a family member who had lived through the war. His grandfather had told him about being a child close to his age and remembering his class drawing and painting posters in support of the war. So he was able to convince his teacher to bring the entire class into the Library to see the posters.
In the end, they seemed to enjoy the experience, learned a few new things, and even taught the archivist a thing or two. Their thank you cards even incorporated many of the images we saw and discussed during their visit. Smart kids!