Michael Dubois, Director of Exhibits and Design, Heinz History Center:
So my favorite artifact in the exhibit is actually the artifact that you can’t see. It’s listening to the oral histories at the end of the exhibit. The oral histories are all Western Pennsylvania veterans and what they’re doing is they’re giving you a little peek into some of the experiences they had during World War II. It’s an appropriate end to this exhibit.
There’s so many great things to see and in the very last room you actually don’t see any particular artifact. You’re just here to listen to them. And you listen to them in this room we’ve created that is approximately 7,000 dog tags. Each one of the dog tags represents one of the 200 Pennsylvanians who served in the war. It also represents one of five who gave their lives.
It’s a really powerful ending to the exhibit and it was also powerful to watch the staff put this room together. We were working on 18-hour shifts for about four days to hang all of these by hand. Everyone in the museum, even divisions outside of who would normally install an exhibit came down to help. It was just a great experience.