With its reverberations still keenly felt, the Korean War remains a watershed moment in world history. This month, The Westchester Veterans Museum at Lasdon Park and Arboretum will hold the exhibit Korea, A War Without End, featuring a range of fascinating items from that tumultuous time. This includes objects ranging from deactivated firearms to harrowing photographs of wartime strife. According to the exhibit’s co-curator Tito Davila, the show was a natural choice for the museum.
“[The Westchester Veterans Museum’s] mission is to exhibit the important historical milestones that have impacted US servicemen and servicewomen. It is the only such museum in Westchester County,” says Davila. “The concept of the Korean War exhibit arose in discussions about the relevance of Korea in today’s news. More than 60 years after the end of conflict in the Korean War — officially called a police action — the troubled peninsula is still grabbing headlines. The irony is that there’s still no peace treaty signed [only an armistice agreement], meaning the war never officially ended, thus the name of the exhibit.”
The exhibit, which will be on show through September, explores both combat and the war’s impact on American society. “The items displayed in the exhibit are from the museum’s own collection, much of it donated by veterans and their families,” says Davila. “We work to balance the types of items on display. We have some vintage arms, but the items that draw much attention are the personal items that soldiers were issued, from canteens to food rations to playing cards.”
Davila, who produced the show with fellow curator Mark Tolf, feels the exhibit sheds light on a deeply underappreciated historical event. “The Korean War, which is sometimes overlooked, featured some of bloodiest battles and greatest acts of heroism in our military history. It was also momentous on other levels: World War II hero General Douglas MacArthur was fired by President Truman, and the Chinese and American armed forces fought bloody battles for the first and only time in history,” says Davila. “We would like visitors to have better understanding of the tremendous sacrifice made by servicemen and servicewomen.”