Highlighting private correspondence from almost every major conflict in U.S. history, new exhibition War Comes Home: The Legacy opens on December 12, 2016 at the Cesar Chavez Central Library. The traveling exhibition, rich with historic and contemporary letters, offers an intimate perspective into the thoughts and emotions of veterans and their families upon a soldier’s homecoming.
War Comes Home: The Legacy is part of Cal Humanities’ current War Comes Home initiative, a thematic program designed to promote greater understanding of veterans and explore how war shapes a community. The exhibition is based on the work of the Center for American War Letters (CAWL) and is presented by Exhibit Envoy. Andrew Carroll, the Director of CAWL and an award-winning and New York Times bestselling author, and John Benitz, Associate Professor in the Department of Theatre at Chapman University, co-curated the exhibition.
The exhibition explores the joys and hardships that returning soldiers and their families face during homecoming, as expressed through private letters and email correspondence. Spanning conflicts from the Civil War through the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and displayed on thirteen interpretive panels, War Comes Home: The Legacy explores the shared themes of wartime separation, the adjustment to life back at home, and the costs of war. As Staff Sergeant Parker Gyokeres writes, “Those of us coming back…are not looking for sympathy. We might be reluctant at first to talk about what we’ve been through…[but] your support has made this journey an incredible one…Thanks, above all, for listening.”
This exhibition at Cesar Chavez Central Library runs through January 3, 2017, but will make its way to two additional branches: Manteca Library located at 320 W. Center Street in Manteca, from January 9 through January 18th, 2017 and then at the Tracy Library, located at 20 E. Eaton Avenue in Tracy, from January 20 through January 27th.
An opening reception introducing the exhibit to our public will be held on Monday, December 12th at 6:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Stewart Hazelton Conference Room. This event is free and open to the public. We will have guest speakers, a letter writing station, audio tour options, a special book dedication, and light refreshments.
Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library is also proud to offer a special resource for all veterans: Vets Connect. This resource, housed in the Literacy Department of the Cesar Chavez Central Library, includes laptops, print and electronic resources, and referrals to community organizations who offer services specially designed for our veterans. Take a tour of our Vets Connect area on the night of the opening reception for War Comes Home.
War Comes Home: The Legacy is a partnership between Cal Humanities, the California State Library and Exhibit Envoy. It is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the BayTree Fund, The Whitman Fund, and the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian. Learn more about Exhibit Envoy at www.exhibitenvoy.org and about Cal Humanities at www.calhum.org.