World War II Museum Travels To South Mississippi

"Ladies and gentlemen, the president of the United States," blares a voice over the radio.

The voice from the past set the tone for a unique history lesson.

"This war is a new kind of war," says President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

A recording of FDR's speech explained why the United States entered into World War Two. On  Friday, the radio address took students at Orange Grove Elementary back to 1941.

"The president speaking, I thought that was pretty cool because that was the actual president," says 6th Grader Rachel Vizy.

The children used their ears, eyes, and sense of touch, to learn fascinating facts about the war, from the battle field to the home front.

"Oh cool. There's an address on this," says a student as he studied a draft card.

"The program is called World War II, 101," says Kenneth Hoffman, Director of Education for the National World War II Museum. "Teachers have textbooks. Teachers have educational materials. But we bring in actual pieces of history, so it brings the story to life."

"Hello mom and dad. It's good for a chance to talk to you again," says another voice over the radio.

The soldier's recording, a helmet, and other artifacts came from the National World War Two Museum in New Orleans. Educators at the museum are taking the lessons into the classrooms, on board the Red Ball Express.

"They learn how to handle something that's 60 years old," says Hoffman. "They learn how to examine it and what we call 'read' an artifact. Kids get a big kick out of being able to interact with history by handling it."

"I felt like I'd actually worked with it everyday, because of the gloves and things made it a little bit more realistic.  Like how you took it out and observed it," says 6th Grader Nailah Bell.

When asked if she could live during that time period, Nailah says "No, no. It's more difficult and they didn't have a lot of things that we have now."

Gifted students from Woolmarket Elementary also took part into the program. The Red Ball Express normally visits schools in the Greater New Orleans area. The museum is planning to expand the program to schools across the Mississippi Gulf Coast.