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Published July 2020 | Version v6.0.0
Conference Poster Open

Preserving and Honoring the Legacy of World War II Medical Efforts


Poster presented during the 2020 annual meeting of the Medical Library Association (MLA 20 vConference and Exhibits), held July 27-August 9, 2020 ("Exploration") and August 10-14, 2020 ("Live Action Week"). The conference site also featured a recording describing poster content that was done by first author, Gabrielle Barr. Gabrielle Barr was a 2nd year National Library of Medicine fellow at Galter Health Sciences Library & Learning Center from Sept. 2018-August 2019.


Background: James A. Conner and Michael L. Mason, who served in the 12th General Hospital Unit during World War II, donated their papers to the library, which were processed and digitized. The library also created an interactive digital exhibit that narrated the story of the 12th General Hospital Unit and provided the broader context through images, videos, and documents from other repositories. To draw attention to resources that promote the legacy of this prestigious medical corps, a team comprised of individuals from different departments of the library embarked upon a multi-faceted outreach mission.Description: Over the course of three months, we publicized the exhibit through social media and digital signage, and invited a military medicine expert to speak at the inauguration event for the exhibit. We performed genealogical research to find relatives of those who served and invited them to attend and participate in the inaugural event. Members of the team called the descendants that could be located and wrote them personalized notes on stationery with photographs from the collection and a link to the digital exhibit. The team also created a five-panel traveling banner display to be unveiled at the lunchtime speaker event. Following the speaker event, the library had an open house for visitors to see the 12th General Hospital materials. The event was covered by the campus media as well as by the Chicago Tribune and NPR.Conclusion: With more than 150 attendees from across the country at the speaker event, the display of the traveling banner exhibit at locations in the Chicago area, and the increase of remote and in-person reference requests about the 12th General Hospital, the outreach activities the library developed during the summer of 2019 proved to be successful. The library has since used some of these tactics like the traveling banner exhibit to highlight other special collections projects and has most importantly learned several lessons on how to manage a large-scale outreach campaign.


12th General Hospital poster_final rev.pdf
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March 31, 2023
March 31, 2023