Honoring a WWII Veteran For Future Generations

Creating an Exhibit: “P.F.C. John L. Meyer Jr.: My Road to Nuremberg”

MUSE student Jessica Heck used her internship at the Kansas Museum of History to help create a unique exhibit to honor John Meyer Jr.'s service in World War II. Besides getting hands-on experience with the hands-on skills used in the museum studies field, she also saw another side of this line of work: Spending time with John Meyer Jr., the subject of the exhibit, and his family.

The exhibit case in the reference room hasn't been used for anything of this scale before, but the donation of John Meyer's materials to the museum sprung the idea into action. According to the Topeka Capital-Journal, "Meyer served in combat in Europe during World War II as a private first class in the United States Army from 1943 to January 1946. He was a member of the First Infantry Division, 18th Regiment, F Company. He built a model of the courtroom used in the Nuremberg Trials, which prosecuted those who participated in the Holocaust and other war crimes."

I've been working on this exhibit case in the reference room at the State Archives since the start of the summer, partly for my job and as part of my internship. Mary Madden, director of the Kansas History Museum, and my boss, Matt Veatch (the State Archivist) encouraged me to get involved in May and, since then I've been researching, interviewing, and drafting exhibit scripts almost every day for four months. I got to know Mr. Meyer and his wife, Marilyn, pretty well throughout the project, which was the greatest honor of all. It's one thing to present material about WWII veterans – it's another to hear them talk about it and see their reaction in person. 

The Topeka Capital-Journal newspaper was here, as well as about 45 guests. It was pretty awesome. 

It was a fabulous experience and I couldn't have been happier to have been a part of it! This is why I love what I do and what I'm learning to do!

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Museum Events

FILM - Out of State Saturday, December 09 | 1 p.m.-4 p.m.
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak St. Kansas City, MO
In 2007, the state of Hawaii outsourced the care of roughly 2,000 male prisoners to a private, for-profit prison in Arizona. Exiled thousands of miles from their island home, a group of indigenous Hawaiian inmates have discovered their calling on the inside: teaching each other their native language and dances. As several of the men complete their sentences, the film follows them as they reintegrate in Hawaii. Out of State explores questions of cultural and religious identity; the overabundance of native Hawaiians and minorities in the prison system; the cycle of criminal behavior and its impact on the family; and prisoner entitlement. Join us for a moderated discussion led by Native-Hawaiian filmmaker and Out of State’s director, Ciara Lacy, and member of the Osage Nation, Jimmy Lee Beason II, M.S.W.

Meet the Experts: Christmas Crèches​
Sunday, December 10 | 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
The National Museum of Toys/Miniatures, 5235 Oak St. Kansas City, MO
Get to know the experts at The National Museum of Toys and Miniatures through this monthly exploration of special topics. On December 10, enjoy special displays of Christmas crèches from the Bud and Jan Koupal Collection. Hear a talk about the history and tradition of holiday crèches, and stay afterward for cider and cookies. The program includes a lecture and museum visit. Included with museum admission.

TALK - Civic Leader and Art Collector: Sallie Casey Thayer and an Art Museum for KU
Thursday, December 14 | 10 a.m.-11 a.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Gallery 317 Sam and Connie Perkins Central Court, 1301 Mississippi St.
A hundred years ago, Kansas City philanthropist Sallie Casey Thayer donated her extensive collection to the KU, forming the basis for what is today the Spencer Museum of Art’s collection. Celka Straughn, Director of Academic Programs, discusses this eclectic collection, from Japanese prints and American paintings to sumptuous textiles, ancient artifacts, and even valentines. This series of informal gallery talks is designed for senior citizens but open to everyone.

TALK - Slow Art Sunday: Presepio 
Sunday, December 17 | 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, Gallery 317 Sam and Connie Perkins Central Court, 1301 Mississippi St.
Slow down at the Spencer and spend time getting to know one great work of art. Slow Art Sunday features one work for visitors to contemplate and converse about with Museum staff. In December, get to know our 18th-century Italian Presepio.

TALK - Home for the Holidays 
Sunday, December 24 | 12 p.m.-1 p.m.
Spencer Museum of Art, 1301 Mississippi St.
Every year, Spencer Museum Director Saralyn Reece Hardy spends an afternoon in the galleries welcoming visitors and leading informal tours to celebrate the holiday season. This year's tour centers on the origins of the Museum and collecting and sharing art as a form of civic engagement. Tours begin at 12pm and 1pm. Join us and make this Spencer Museum tradition your own. These tours are presented in conjunction with the centennial celebration of the Museum’s collection.

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