WWII Museum brings lessons to life for Harrison County students

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The National World War II Museum in New Orleans rolled into a Harrison County school Thursday. The program took the students back in time to show them the history lessons and legacy of the war.

A German helmet, military uniforms and service flags were on display on a table. They are part of the collection of artifacts at the World War II Museum in New Orleans. This week, those pieces of the past are on display at Orange Grove Elementary School.

"We don't want the museum to be just a building. We want it to be something that travels, that lives, that we can bring things out. We can bring part of the museum to these other students," said Collin Makamson, World War II Museum Outreach Coordinator.

Students not only learned the history behind each item, they also got to experience it.

Ray Frazier put on the gas mask and said, "It's hot in there and smells too."

"Like feet and rotten eggs or something," another boy commented.

"We got to see some clothes they had on and stuff that they wore. It kind of made me feel like hey, I'm in the war right now," said sixth grader Kira Sease.

The museum's mobile outreach program is called the Red Ball Express. It has traveled to schools, libraries and community centers across Louisiana and Mississippi.

Makamson used a large inflatable globe to help students understand which countries were involved in the war. He also used games so students could figure out key places, events and battles.

"I didn't know really that much about the Japanese and the Germans that were sort of bad in the war," said fifth grader Simone Holmes.

"You get to learn things, and you get to touch it as you're doing it. I think that's a fun way to learn," said sixth grader Ray Frazier.

"It's about igniting a spark. The teachers are doing the hard work. We're hoping to be an enrichment to make lessons come alive," said Makamson.

About 40 gifted students went through the program Thursday. Parents also got to see the program in action during Family Night Thursday. On Friday, the rest of the students at the school will also get to participate.

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