Code Word: WWII

What: NC Maritime Museum Second Saturday Program, “WWII: Loose Lips Sink Ships”
When: Saturday, June 14th
10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Where: NC Maritime Museum
204 E. Moore St., Southport
Cost: Free!
Info: (910) 457-0003

Ever wonder what it would be like to go back in time? To the time of World War II, secrets, code words and old battleships? You can do just that by participating in the NC Maritime Museum’s Second Saturday program, “WWII: Loose Lips Sink Ships” on the waterfront in downtown Southport along museum grounds. This summer program will take visitors back to World War II with living historians, displays, and hands-on activities for all ages.

Propoganda posters warned Americans about the dangers that lurked when discussing WWII information during the war. Photo courtesy of the NC Maritime Museum at Southport

Propoganda posters warned Americans about the dangers that lurked when discussing WWII information during the war. Photo courtesy of the NC Maritime Museum at Southport

In previous Second Saturday events , the museum has examined the Colonial period, Civil War, and natural history as they pertain to North Carolina. As the 70th anniversaries of significant events during World War II approached, the museum felt it was important to remember the Greatest Generation and their sacrifices—one of these anniversaries being that of D-Day  invasion of Normandy, France (June 6th, 1944). Interestingly enough, the program date will fall on Flag Day, June 14th, which commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States.

You may be thinking, what exactly does “loose lips sink ships” even mean? Lori Sanderlin, curator of education at the museum, reminds us about the interesting propaganda posters that were displayed during WWII. Lori suggests, “Everyone can identify the iconic Rosie the Riveter, but one of our maritime favorites is “loose lips sink ships,” referring to the unintentional exchange of information to Axis powers. German U-boats were directly off the North Carolina coast when a tanker full of servicemen was torpedoed directly off Southport in 1942, acting as a horrific reminder to the citizens of North Carolina the proximity of German subs and possibility of them gathering information.”

Second Saturday events are for people of all ages. Outside of the museum, in the Garrison lawn, will be vendors, their colorful tents and booths filled with everything from jewelry, handmade soaps, toys, pottery and more. Inside will be a whirlwind of activity, where interpreters will be discussing the war. “Living historians will be representing WWII, such as the 101st Airborne Division in honor of D-Day, the 559th AA (Anti-Aircraft) who trained at Fort Fisher during WWII, and the Paper Dolls will interpret Red Cross nurses, USO and WAC’s (Women’s Army Corps).” There will also be examples of the material culture—clothing and everyday items used in the field—as well as weaponry.

Come out to the museum from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. to celebrate and remember the Greatest Generation and their sacrifices to our country at this wonderful program, “Loose Lips Sink Ships.”

“Most of all, I want patrons to understand the impact of World War II on the home front and the individual soldier,” Lori gratifyingly conveys. “Historic interpretation gives visitors an opportunity to glimpse into that time period and extract information far beyond the verbiage in a history book. It becomes interactive, and therefore, more real to them.”


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