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Men and Women of Iron: Impact of World War I on the 20th Century
Industrial technology applied to the battlefield brought about a need so immediate and forceful that America was transformed.  The “Iron men” of Pennsylvania’s 28th division rose to the occasion. From Cumberland County emerged heroic men and dedicated women. Wilson mobilized a nation for war, the economy and the role of women expanded in unprecedented ways. Across the sea, hundreds of thousands of Americans endured rapid firing machine guns, flame throwers, trench foot, lice, and a constant barrage of unprecedented artillery fire. Learn how these and other technologies functioned and brought about adaptations such as air combat, tanks, and chemical warfare and ways in which the “War to End All Wars” would profoundly shape the decades to come.

 Why the Twenties Roared: Significance of the Jazz Age
Responding to the horror wrought by the Great War and the devastation of the Spanish Influenza, many Americans defined themselves by the expression “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” Young adults sought to defy tradition, expressing themselves through slang, bootleg alcohol, uninhibited clothing, and carefree attitudes towards propriety. A burgeoning youth oriented culture arose and brought forth increased social diversity and independence. Women achieved suffrage and demanded equality not only in the workplace but at home. By the time the decade came to a close, the financial structure initiated by the war, followed by high risk borrowing and lending, brought the roar to a whimper as a new age of conservatism set in.

 Chicken Thieves and Baked Bean Sandwiches: Life during the Great Depression
Brought to an economic low, Americans were forced to “make do or do without.” Once prosperous citizens were reduced to taking in boarders, raising chickens, and wearing dresses made of rough feed sacks.  We will look at the role of CCC camps and other government policies, chicken thieves, gangsters, suicide, and murder in Central Pennsylvania as we follow the footsteps of local residents.  Would you have escaped from reality by dreaming of becoming a Hollywood star or robbing a bank?  As you munch on baked bean sandwiches, cap your own soda bottle, and experiment with homemade remedies, we will attempt to understand this trying period of American history.

 “I Can’t Believe They Ate That”: Glory and Sacrifice in World War II
With one in every seven soldiers hailing from Pennsylvania, we are rife with stories of honor and valor. Learn how Pennsylvania’s famed 28th Division earned the moniker, “Bloody Bucket.”  Become enveloped in one of the most incredible dogfights in American history; featured in a documentary on the History Channel. Lean forward and hear how an unlikely middle aged soldier known as “the old man” would distinguish himself as the last Medal of Honor winner of World War II. Keeping in mind that success on the battlefield depended upon the pivotal role of American women, we will examine ways in which their willingness to labor and sacrifice ensured our nation’s victory.  

Cold War, Hot Conflict: America in the 1950s
How did the Soviet Union turn from ally to enemy? Why was everyone so afraid of Joe McCarthy? Did we really think that better kitchens would crush the spirit of the Soviets? During this program we will look at the material culture of the 1950s as it relates to McCarthyism, cultural and technological competition with Russia, containment of the spread of communism through a war in Korea. Air raid drills, Mickey Mouse, and Hawaiian shirts exercised by a youth dominated culture obscured the undercurrent of fear that permeated the “Happy Days” of the 1950s. Not to be forgotten, we will feature valiant county soldiers who endured epidemic hemorrhagic fever, frost bite, Mao Zedong’s army, starvation in prison camps, and introduced the world to the H bomb, interracial fighting forces, napalm, helicopters, body armor, MASH units, jet aircraft and G-suits in a conflict that nearly led to World War III.

Conflict with Two Faces: The War in Vietnam
The conflict in Vietnam has become one of the most analyzed and controversial events in American history.  In its early years, conquest in Southeast Asia was supported with patriotic fervor. Many county youths enthusiastically enlisted saying, “It was the easiest decision of my life.” By the late sixties and early seventies, the tide of public opinion had turned away. What caused these changes and how did the reversal affect or reflect the views of the public? Relying upon the experiences of men and women from Cumberland County we will look at the technology and culture of the war while exploring reactions from enlistees, draftees, hippies, and squares to the Tet Offensive, military strategy, media coverage, and peace rallies. These voices may shed light not only on the past but on how memory of historic events is shaped and remembered in popular culture.