[Michlib-l] Our Lives, Our Stories: America's Greatest Generation Opens in Ypsilanti

Gillian Ream Gainsley ggainsley at ypsilibrary.org
Fri Apr 18 11:11:51 EDT 2014

Some more news from Ypsilanti-Drop by and see the exhibit! (--Gillian)
Our Lives, Our Stories: America's Greatest Generation Opens

April 5-May 25 at the Ypsilanti District Library, 5577 Whittaker Road, Ypsilanti MI 48197

Who speaks for the experiences of a generation and their impact on the world around them?  What experiences help to create a sense of shared identity?
Our Lives, Our Stories: America's Greatest Generation, a new exhibition that opened this week at the Ypsilanti District Library, explores the life arc of the World War II generation-as told in their own words.  Born in the 1910s and 1920s, these people were decisively shaped by the Depression and World War II. They went on to parent the "baby boom" and shape the economic boom of the postwar era. Today-well into the 21st century-we are all living with their legacy. But who are these people upon whom the title of "greatest" has been bestowed?

Our Lives, Our Stories draws on memories and oral histories gathered by the Minnesota Historical Society to help us understand who these people really were. The exhibition begins with the babies of the 1910s and 1920s, and then explores the human impact of events that marked major turning points in their lives, including the Depression, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, World War II, the rising awareness of Civil Rights, and the growth of media-driven consumer culture during the post-war boom. While this generation's identity is clearly linked to World War II, the focus of Our Lives, Our Stories seeks to restore a wholeness to our understanding of them by allowing them to tell their stories along the larger arc of their lives.  In the process, their diversity of memories reveals them as the complex mix of real people who truly helped to shape the world that we live in today.

The exhibit is free and open to the public. It is available every day from April 6 until May 25 during all the hours that the Whittaker Road library is open: Monday-Thursday 9 am-9 pm; Friday and Saturday 10 am-6 pm; and Sunday 1 pm-5 pm. The library is located at 5577 Whittaker Road in Ypsilanti Township. Groups interested in tours should contact Gillian Gainsley at 734-879-1303.

The Ypsilanti District Library will also host a variety of programs that will complement the exhibit and allow patrons of all ages to experience the exhibit in new and different ways. Highlights include:

*         Get Inspired! Fundraising gala: YDL's annual fundraiser will feature a swing band, vintage fashions, and performances that make the exhibit come to life. Guests are invited to wear their favorite '40s or '50s fashions. Tickets are $40 and go to benefit arts and cultural programming at YDL. Call 734-879-1303 for details. Friday, April 25, 7 pm, YDL-Whittaker.

*         South Adams Street Walking Tour: Learn the stories of the tightly-knit African American community that lived in Ypsilanti between the Civil War and WWII. Tour for teens: Saturday, May 3. Tour for adults: Friday, May 30. Both tours meet at 3:45 pm at Library Plaza next to YDL-Michigan, at 229 W. Michigan Avenue.

*         A Thousand Letters Home: Local author Teresa Irish will discuss the book she wrote compiling the letters her father, Bud, sent home during his service in WWII. Book signing to follow. Sunday, May 4, 2 pm, YDL-Whittaker.

*         Family History Day: Bring the kids to the library for historically-inspired games and crafts. Dress as a cultural icon from the 1920s-1960s and contribute your family's story to the "Ypsi Lives, Ypsi Stories" wall. Paul Burch will perform WWII-era music. Saturday, May 10, 11 am-4 pm, YDL-Whittaker.

# # #
Gillian Ream Gainsley
Ypsilanti District Library
ggainsley at ypsilibrary.org

Our Lives, Our Stories: America's Greatest Generation has been made possible by NEH on the Road, a special initiative of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The exhibit was originally developed by the Minnesota Historical Society in Saint Paul, Minnesota. This exhibit was adapted and is toured by Mid-America Arts Alliance through NEH on the Road. NEH on the Road offers an exciting opportunity for communities of all sizes to experience some of the best exhibitions funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Mid-America Arts Alliance was founded in 1972 and is the oldest regional nonprofit arts organization in the United States. For more information, visit www.maaa.org<www.maaa.org%20> or www.nehontheroad.org.

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