|Russ Vermillion, Lamar Scott, Buddy Simpson, Marty Potash|
Recently, my school was lucky enough to host a traveling exhibit of historic military items ranging from World War I through Vietnam. The exhibit contains items from the personal collection of two local Marine Veterans, Buddy Simpson and Lamar Scott. They have been amassing the collection for over a decade and have been offering it to schools for the last six years, free of charge. Not only do they set up the exhibit but they, along with fellow Veterans man the exhibit during the day. Students get to see all the artifacts, and the Veterans are on hand to explain all the items and answer questions. Plus they often tell stories to go along with the artifacts.
|Vietnam Era Items|
|Picture of Lamar Scott as well as|
helmet he wore in Vietnam
|Mannequins clad with uniforms from different eras.|
|Mr. Simpson showing students items|
For the length of the exhibit, Mr. Scott and Mr. Simpson were joined by fellow Veterans Russ Vermillion (Marines), Terry McClure (Army) and Marty Potash (Air Force). All of the men volunteer their time helping show off the historic artifacts and engage students with stories and answering questions. As a teacher, I have known Mr. Vermillion for over a decade as one of my annual Vietnam Veteran speakers.
|Authentic Tuskegee Airmen Uniforms|
|World War I Uniforms and Saddle|
Mr. Simpson and Mr. Scott told us how they regularly receive donations from people who might otherwise toss the historic items in the trash. Something very sad for a history teacher to hear. Indeed, there was one photo from WWI that was given to them at a local mall. The woman said she had planned on throwing it away if they didn’t take it. Not only did they gladly take the photograph, Mr. Simpson then hand made a wooden oval frame for it to be displayed in.
|Variety of medicines.|
|World War II German items|
The exhibit also contains dozens of cases, hand made by Mr. Simpson containing hundreds of items. Artifacts ranged from WWI cavalry items to flasks to medical supplies to war medals to money to disabled weapons. Mr. Scott was able to show off the discontinued miniature cigarette brands and lighters as well as the still-thriving personal hygiene products used in their grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ generations. Other great curiosities included a saddle from WWI, an Army issue portable phonograph player, a typewriter, huge walkie-talkies and the wire and phones from WWI.
I have told all my teacher friends at other schools all about the exhibit. It was a wonderful week and I look forward to my school hosting it each year. It really was exciting to have a mini-museum in our school, if even for just a few days.