On January 23, 2020 at 6:30 pm, the Historical Society of Princeton (HSP) and Princeton Public Library (PPL) will host an “Open Archive” program, displaying real historical materials related to the World War II home front experience in Princeton. This pop-up display is presented in conjunction with the panel exhibition, World War II on the Princeton Home Front, running in the Princeton Room at the Public Library through February 6, 2020.
The panel exhibition investigates the major home front activities of civil defense, foreign relief, and rationing, showcasing reproductions of archival materials from HSP’s collection. In so doing, the display sheds light on the local debates at the time about foreign intervention, the extent to which civil liberties should be limited to ensure safety, and the value of democracy as a system of government, conversations that reverberate in American society today.
“Visiting the exhibit is a wonderful way to learn about important local history and contemplate significant questions about contemporary issues as well. The Open Archive on January 23 provides a special opportunity to interact with historical materials and discuss with other attendees and HSP’s experts,” said Hannah Schmidl, PPL’s Public Humanities Coordinator.
The January 23, 2020 Open Archive program will enable visitors to view and explore the “real” documents featured in the panel exhibition, in addition to other materials that highlight the home front experience in Princeton during World War II. HSP and PPL regularly present “Open Archives,” which are pop-up opportunities for members of the community to come face-to-face with the contents of HSP’s vast collection, and to engage in conversation with other participants about what they observe.
“Our Open Archive series at PPL allows attendees to interact with archival documents and artifacts from the HSP collection without the barrier of glass cases. People get to really see the documents up close,” said Stephanie Schwartz, Curator of Collections and Research at the Historical Society. “It will certainly add an extra layer of meaning to their experience of the panel exhibition.”
While the Open Archive event is one-night-only, the Princeton Room exhibition is open to the public during the Library’s open hours, seven days a week, whenever another program is not scheduled in the Princeton Room.