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In wartime, nation drew inspiration from posters

Propaganda art from 1914 to 1945 on display at Washington County musuem

Propaganda art from 1914 to 1945 on display at Washington County musuem

January 07, 2008|By ERIN CUNNINGHAM

They were meant to inspire a nation with bold images and powerful words.

Posters were a way for governments to justify a war, bolster morale or motivate citizens to enlist in the armed forces during World War I and World War II.

On Sunday, James P. McNally III, the curator of art for the U.S. Army Heritage & Education Center in Carlisle, Pa., discussed the posters at the Washington County Museum of Fine Arts. The posters are part of the exhibit titled "Designing for Victory 1914-1945: Posters from the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center."

The show, which includes 36 posters, will run through Feb. 3.

"The posters were meant to inspire," McNally said.

They also were meant to be visually appealing and make citizens take notice, while also carrying a powerful message.

Max Avey, of Hagerstown, and his wife, Jeanne, were among about two dozen others who were at the gallery for McNally's talk on Sunday.

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Jeanne's father was a frontline combat photographer for the U.S. Army in World War II, and she said she's always had an interest in history of that time period. The couple said they learned from McNally about the effect of propaganda ? the posters ? especially while the country is at war.

McNally showed his audience posters from several countries, including the United States, Germany and Great Britain. The posters demonstrate how artists did their part during the wars and reveal the transformation of graphic design, according to a museum press release.

The artists whose work appears on the posters include Howard Chandler Christy and Norman Rockwell.

All posters are on loan from the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center and the Carlisle Barracks.




If you go



What: "Designing for Victory 1914-1945: Posters from the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center" exhibit

Where: Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown

When: Now through Feb. 3

Hours: Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Contact: For details about the exhibit or the museum, call 301-739-5727 or go to www.wcmfa.org.

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