When the United States entered the war in December 1941, Vinalhaven, like so many other towns across the country, responded immediately and resolutely to the call to service. Within months our community was stripped of most of its young men; those who were drafted, or volunteered, and those who went to work in war industries. With so many of our young men gone, women and older men were left to carry on in the face of hardship and uncertainty. Women did their part by managing the Civil Defense Lookout Tower on Armbrust Hill, making surgical dressings for the Red Cross, knitting woolen scarves for the soldiers and tending to love ones who remained behind.
During the next several months many island families moved to Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut to work in factories to help with the war effort. Children were uprooted from their homes and small school to go with their parents to larger towns and schools, which was intimidating to many. However most met the challenge effortlessly, as is evidenced by stories told by many of those who left the island during that time.
Our summer exhibit will try to recapture the atmosphere of that era and highlight the difficulties of the war years through artifacts and stories. Despite the fact that the island was an isolated community it was never isolated from the consequences and importance of the war.