Pennsylvania Military Museum collection honors mom’s role in wartime

Just in time for Mother’s Day, the Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg will honor mothers with an exhibit featuring items “to Mom” collected from Pennsylvania’s soldiers over the years.

Museum educator Joe Horvath said he thought the exhibit would be a nice way to recognize Mother’s Day and the anniversary of the end of World War II on May 8, 1945. Items in the exhibit include letters written from soldiers to their mothers, as well as items handmade by mothers for their children while they were serving abroad.

As with many of the museum’s exhibits, Horvath said the pieces in this display represent only a small portion of the items donated to the museum.

“Museums are like time capsules for the future ... we’re always getting donations in from people with items that they want to have preserved,” he said. “What you see in an exhibit is 12 to 15 percent of what we actually have in any particular category. We catalog everything and hold onto it until there’s an appropriate time to bring it out.”

Perhaps Horvath’s favorite item in this particular exhibit is an unfinished pair of socks a Boalsburg woman knitted for her son serving in World War II. Horvath recalls going to the home a few years ago to pick up the family’s donations and asking why the socks were never finished. The answer he received is still enough to bring about a hearty laugh from the 16-year museum veteran.

“She looked at me with a deadpan expression and said, ‘Because the war ended,’ ” Horvath said. “Once I heard that, I knew we had to have those socks for our collection.”

Military mothers of all ages will receive a discount to enter the museum May 12 in honor of Mother’s Day. The exhibit is scheduled to close at the end of May, but Horvath said interest has been strong thus far, and if it continues, the pieces may remain on display into the summer.