The Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site used history this month to celebrate Christmas. The visitor center museum was decorated with World War II memorabilia and a veteran’s theme.
Site Manager John Akers said the staff wanted to commemorate and showcase how Christmas was celebrated in the 1940s.
“People didn’t decorate very much, due to the war,” Akers said. “The people that decided to celebrate Christmas and decorate had to be creative due to the rationing.”
During the war, products like metal were being rationed to aid the war efforts. People in the era found other ways to make things they needed or wanted, Akers said.
“We have a toy train that was made from paper, because of the metal being rationed,” he said.
Akers said the tree in the visitor center is part of the Denison Tour of Trees, and was decorated as a veteran’s tree.
“We were part of the Denison Tour of Trees last year, and wanted to participate this year,” he said. “When we found out students from Scott Middle School decorated with a veteran’s theme, we knew we wanted that tree.”
Sharla Mullens, a Scott Middle School History teacher and the Scott Scholars did a fantastic job decorating the tree, Akers said.
The Denison Tour of Trees is an annual event held by Denison downtown. Various Denison businesses have students from the different schools decorate the trees. Residents can vote for their favorite tree and business once a day through December 31.
The visitor center had three Homefront Christmas Saturdays during the month of December. The three Saturdays before Christmas offered entry into the museum for free, and visitors received recipe pamphlets with old rationing recipes.
In the front room of the museum stand the veteran-themed Christmas tree, adorned with red, white and blue decorations. The display to the right of the tree shows the different products that were rationed during the war, such as metal, gasoline, silk and even typewriters.
The display to the left paid homage to the music that was popular during the war era. Songs like “The White Cliffs of Dover” and “In the Mood” were popular hits during World War II.