Successful second day of our Wartime zoo life exhibition … and Vera Lynn back in the charts!

A much visited box of ration books, gardening books and wartime recipe collections

A much visited box of ration books, gardening books and wartime recipe collections.

Day 2 of 2: Another busy exhibition day on Bank Holiday Monday talking to zoo visitors about the wartime zoo garden project, in fact not much time to plant more seedlings beyond another bed of leeks.

Lots of  “jawjaw” about “war war” but mostly listening to people’s experiences of wartime, especially evacuees (ahead of today’s St. Paul’s commemoration) and children and their parents who had just done “the war” and wartime childhood at school.

Objects such as gas masks, a mystery object (a banana), Mars Bars (our staple and suitably wartime diet for two days talking), Kitkat wrappers (scanned and sent by fabulous 40s girls of The Polar Bears re-enactment group)  and ration books, but especially Powdered eggs (thanks to the 1940s Society for a fresh supply) got different generations talking, teaching and reliving each other. So no need to write captions for this two day museum exhibition!

Most people, especially older visitors agreed how important it was that the experiences and lessons of this time are not forgotten. Vera Lynn, the new website and the 7oth anniversary of the outbreak of war, linked to the week’s television schedules and the new Imperial War Museum exhibition “Outbreak” were mentioned by visitors.

The usual bank holiday weather watered the wartime zookeeper’s garden for us which will keep on growing whilst the exhibition goes back into store. We photographed sections of it laid out to share with you over the next few blogs. We’ve a winter ahead scanning, conserving, cataloguing and preparing resources for schools. Research into wartime zoos goes on.

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