Trevor Larson has a number of military displays in his home, including photos, uniforms and  documents from metro Detroit veterans who fought in the Pacific theater in World War II.

Trevor Larson has a number of military displays in his home, including photos, uniforms and documents from metro Detroit veterans who fought in the Pacific theater in World War II.

Photo provided by Trevor Larson


Preserve and display military memorabilia in the home

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published November 10, 2020

 One piece of memorabilia Carol Fisher has from her late father who served in World War II  is a newspaper clipping that her dad displayed in the basement.

One piece of memorabilia Carol Fisher has from her late father who served in World War II is a newspaper clipping that her dad displayed in the basement.

Photo provided by Carol Fisher

METRO DETROIT — For veterans and their families, memorabilia represent an individual’s service and can bring back memories of one’s time in the military.  

For this Veterans Day, a member of the Detroit Arsenal of Democracy Museum in Warren agreed to share some tips for people to properly display and preserve military memorabilia within the home.

Trevor Larson, assistant curator of interior displays at the museum, said that memorabilia are tangible links to history.

“Something that’s physical is a lot more meaningful,” he said. “Artifacts are timeless and persist indefinitely; so long as you maintain them, they’ll be here for generations to come.”

Larson, of Macomb Township, noted there are two enemies of historic artifacts — moisture and sunlight.

“If you keep them out of both of that, things will be fine for indefinite periods,” he said. “As long as they are properly housed and sealed, they will be fine.”

Carol Fisher, of Shelby Township, is the daughter of the late World War II veteran Henry Gleba.

One piece of memorabilia she has from her father is a newspaper clipping that her dad displayed in the basement.  

“It’s very touching,” she said.

The framed picture depicts American troops caring for a battle-weary prisoner.

Other mementos that Fisher received from her father are his dog tag and a photo of him with his unit, the 102nd Infantry Division.

“This is hard to look at sometimes since I was told the majority of his friends were killed,” Fisher said.

Fisher stores most of her father’s military items in an archival safe container.

“I have a penny that my dad put on a railroad track that the train ran over when it was carrying President Roosevelt’s coffin,” she said. “Also in my home, I have a large book from the Ozarks Division and some other memorabilia.”

As he meets different veterans at their homes, Larson finds that a majority of them display their memorabilia, as opposed to storing it away.

“More often than not, if they still have it, it’s displayed and framed up on a wall,” he said. “They almost all have a photo of themselves, patches, ribbons and medals.”

Last year, C&G Newspapers reported a unique medal on display at the St. Clair Shores home of World War II veteran Russell Shields — the Pearl Harbor Commemorative Medal.

That medal is given to individuals who were in the armed forces present in Hawaii on Dec. 7, 1941, and who participated in combat operations against Japanese military forces attacking Hawaii.

Shields was aboard the USS Whitney destroyer tender docked near Battleship Row in Pearl Harbor at the time of the attack.

Larson also mentioned that it’s important to keep items in a dark room if possible, adding that artificial light isn’t terrible, but exposure should be reduced as much as possible.