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Murray Journal

Murray Museum calls on Murray veterans and families to share wartime experiences

May 13, 2022 09:53PM ● By Shaun Delliskave

By Shaun Delliskave | [email protected]

If you were serving on the frontline in the armed forces during a war or were on the home front, the Murray Museum wants your story.

“We are gathering stories from veterans and family members about their experiences in the military, whether that’s during war times or on the home front. This is really just our way of honoring our service members. We are taking donations of pictures or artifacts as well as any stories that they want to contribute or if they would like to be interviewed for an oral history. The project is set to open in May 2023 when we are in the Murray Mansion. We want to hear about the lives of our service members, what drew them to the military, and how their families felt. The project is open to any area of service and of all ages as long as they have a connection to Murray,” Murray City Museum assistant Rowan Coates said.

This project is meant to give an overarching understanding of the Murray communities’ role in the war effort. The museum calls this a “Legacy Project,” spanning any war that America was involved in, including World Wars I and II, Vietnam, Korea, Desert Storm, Iraq, and Afghanistan conflicts. They want to display the stories of veterans and their family members to show the impact of war on the community and how Murrayites showed their patriotism. This is also meant to display what life is like during war and uncertainty.

“We thought it was important to collect these stories because every year, we are losing so much history. Many of our veterans are getting older, and it’s becoming harder to learn about their involvement, so we wanted to start now before we lose any more. Another reason we thought it was important is that people don’t really associate Murray with the war effort at any point, so we wanted to make a point of highlighting our veterans who sometimes don’t get the recognition they deserve,” Coates said.

The Legacy Project was initially a Smithsonian Institution project that the Murray Museum board considered. However, they decided that it would be to connect to the community and scaled it down to Murray. The museum expanded the project from the original Smithsonian project to include not only letters but also oral histories, photographs, and artifacts.

“We recently did two oral history interviews that have become part of the collection. I thought these were interesting because they show two completely different experiences in the military. One was the army, and one was the navy, and they fought in different wars. These two had such unique experiences that were very moving,” Coates said.

With the renovation of the Murray Mansion to house the Murray Museum starting in May 2023, the Legacy Project will be one of the first significant displays. As part of the display, museum patrons will be able to view images and letters and listen to oral histories.

“In regard to home front stories, we would really like to hear about what living through war times was like, how community members felt about the US going to war, and families’ thoughts on their family members joining the military. We want information about any time of war from World War II all the way up to today,” Coates said.

The museum is willing to make scans or take pictures of objects and documents if families aren’t ready to part with them. If current and past residents want to tell their stories or like more information, they can call the museum at 801-264-2589 or email Coates at [email protected].