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We Can Do It! WWII Comes to Donora in February

The Donora Historical Society, in partnership with the Senator John Heinz History Center of Pittsburgh and the Donora Public Library, will once again be hosting a traveling exhibit – “We Can Do It! WWII.”

WW II Poster

This is our attempt to not only bring people to Donora for their interest in history, but to also involve the community in showing the “good” that Donora and the Mid-Mon Valley has to offer to the rest of the Mon Valley and beyond with history, culture and goodwill.

Starting on Saturday, February 1, 2020 and running for nine weeks through Tuesday, April 7, 2020, the exhibit will be available to the general public, school groups, and social clubs. This 500 square foot traveling exhibit started its journey in Pittsburgh during a preview at the Heinz History Center in April 2017, will travel throughout Western Pennsylvania including a stop in the West Virginia panhandle, and will finish with us.

Due to its size, the exhibit will be on display in the lower level Community Room at the Donora Public Library. To give it some Mid-Mon Valley flavor, the exhibit will be supplemented with artifacts and presentations from Donora, as well as neighboring historical societies and veterans groups. Living history presenters, roundtable discussions, and WWII era vehicles will also round out the exhibit. Additional Donora-related artifacts will be displayed at the Smog Museum to encourage visitors to visit there as well.

The “We Can Do It! WWII” traveling exhibit explores Western Pennsylvania's incredible impact on the home, industrial, and battle fronts during World War II, and is dedicated to all who answered their country's call and devoted their time, their money, and their lives to the cause of freedom. The exhibit's modular displays will cover a variety of topics, all told from the Western Pennsylvania perspective. Visitors to the exhibit will learn about the development of the jeep produced by the American Bantam Car Company in Butler, hear stories behind Rosie the Riveter, Tuskegee Airmen Carl Woods from Homewood, General George Marshall from Uniontown, Iwo Jimo hero Michael Strank from Johnstown, and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Mitchell Paige from Charleroi. The one thing that makes this exhibit different than the Civil War exhibit is the addition of audio and video recordings that run as part of the modular displays.

Some of the highlights over the nine weeks include an opening night reception with music; a Veterans Breakfast Club (VBC) event ( to bring together local veterans of all ages for a free breakfast, to share oral histories and to raise money for our Donora American Legion and the VBC through private and corporate donations; an afternoon with a WWII holocaust survivor; a women’s WWII-era fashions and tea event; and a closing night documentary presentation and Q&A with WQED-PBS executive producer and Monongahela native David Solomon.

In keeping with Donora Historical Society’sMission Statement, neighboring school districts are invited to schedule their weekday visits that will be supplemented with local history presentations, living history people - WWII veterans, scavenger hunts, and more. We are also sponsoring and coordinating a student assembly with a WWII theme to help reinforce their classroom instruction. We decided to do this on-site at the school to reach a greater number of teachers and students in a shorter period of time. In turn, these same students will visit Donora to see the WWII exhibit, but in smaller groups.

To learn more about the exhibit and the evolving schedule of events, please visit the website and click on the “We Can Do It - WII Exhibit” Info.

WWII Vets Needed to Share Their Stories and Interact with Students

In anticipation for this exhibit, the Donora Historical Society is looking for WWII Veterans that would like to discuss their experiences with school students. An overview of their military career with a Q&A with the students should be expected. The veteran should feel free to bring anything that enhances the discussion. While the WWII exhibit has an enormous amount of interactive detail and the teachers will be prepped with study guides supplied by the Heinz History Center, there is nothing like that personal touch, especially since these veterans probably enlisted at an age that wasn’t too much older than the age of the visiting students. Please contact the Donora History Center by phone or email to make arrangements.

Additional Info

If you have additional questions about the subjects mentioned above, the historical society, museum, presentations or possibly volunteering, feel free to stop by on Saturdays or by special appointment (with at least a week’s notice), email us at, call us at 724-823-0364 and leave a message, visit us on the web at or follow us and Like Us on Facebook at “Donora Historical Society and Smog Museum.”




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