WWII Home Front History Exhibits, Events, and Programs

To commemorate the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII, Naper Settlement will explore how the HomeFront responded to war and connect Naperville to national stories of wartime economic and cultural shifts.

WWII ExhibitsManufacturing Victory Exhibit

Manufacturing Victory: The Arsenal of Democracy
Special Exhibit

March 5 – May 25 |  Included in Museum Admission 
Produced by The National WWII Museum, the exhibit follows the industrial journey that took the United States from a nation perilously unprepared for war to a global superpower that led the Allies to victory in World War II.  The 1,000 sq. ft. exhibit, includes compelling artifacts, photographs, oral histories, and interactive audio-video components that span from Naperville to the nation.

Righting a Wrong: Japanese Americans And World War II
Poster Exhibit 

March 5 – May 25 |  Included in Museum Admission 
Developed by the National Museum of American History and adapted for travel by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service, this poster exhibit traces the story of  the 75,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry and 45,000 Japanese nationals incarcerated under President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 .  Embracing themes that are as relevant today as they were 75 years ago, the exhibition takes a deep look at immigration, prejudice, civil rights, heroism, and what it means to be an American. 

Naperville 1940s Home Front

March 5 – May 25 |  Included in Museum Admission 
This pop-up exhibit explores how Naperville residents answered numerous calls on the Home Front.  Learn how Naperville’s Kroehler Manufacturing Co. –  the world’s largest manufacturer of up holstered furniture at the time – shifted its production to support the war efforts. Beyond manufacturing, learn how Naperville citizens were  asked to join the service, buy war bonds and stamps, give blood, grow and preserve vegetables, donate books, support local and national charities, prepare for blackouts, work more and buy less—all so the war could be won. Naperville Home Front 1940s will also uncover Naperville’s Japanese Internment history, displaying photographs and stories from the over fifty Japanese men and women from Internment camps like Manzanar, Heart Mountain, and Rohwer who worked as seasonal laborers cutting and canning asparagus and growing mushrooms at the Illinois Mushroom Company in Naperville. 

WWII Educational Programs & Events

Home Front 1940s Weekend

May 16-17, 10AM - 4PM 
$12/Adult, $10/Senior (62+),  $8/Youth (4–12)
Naperville residents with proof of residency, children under 4, and members are free

Naperville during World War II hummed with activity from manufacturing to community drives, all working to support the war effort. Join us on May 16 & 17 for 1940s Homefront Weekend where Naper Settlement honors the efforts at home that helped to win the war. At the event, view the traveling exhibit Manufacturing Victory: Arsenal of Democracy on loan from the National World War II Museum. Meet Rosie the Riveter and a Rockford Peach baseball player! See displays of WWII vehicles and propaganda posters from the 1940s. Learn about Victory Gardens and attend canning demonstrations while you vote for your favorite artist-designed container garden. Enjoy the sounds of Andrew and His Sisters, a 1940s tribute performance, and learn how to jitterbug at the swing dance demonstrations. The event also features an opportunity for veterans to share stories of war for our archive.

Victory Garden Book