On a wet and cold day in February, Mom, Dad, Tom and I visited the Homefront WWII Museum on St Simons Island. We had been riding and walking by the Old Coast Guard station on the island for two years and it was never open. Everyone kept telling us they were making it into a WWII museum. So we looked forward to seeing it this year when it finally opened.
The Homefront WWII Museum exceeded my expectations. I was expecting a small town museum with a few local pictures. Instead, the Homefront Museum was room after room of very good exhibits on coastal Georgia’s role in World War II. I learned so many things about World War II that I never knew.
Even before the United States entered World War II, we were supporting the war effort in Great Britain. Because of this, German submarines prowled the Atlantic, sinking Merchant Marine ships. The ships had to be replaced faster than they were being sunk. As a consequence, the J.A. Jones Shipyard opened in Brunswick making 99 “Liberty” ships in two years. These ships supplied the allied effort in Europe and then in the Pacific. The shipyard employed 16,000 people, men and women, black and white. Companies with government contracts were not allowed to discriminate against black people, forcing Georgia to integrate workplaces for the first time.
Brunswick and the surrounding area also had a naval air station, a radar training center, and a Coast Guard Station. All of these were called into play on April 2, 1942 when two tankers were sunk by U-Boat 123 just off the coast of St Simons Island. 22 mariners were killed and others rescued by the locals.
The Homefront WWII Museum details the region’s multifaceted role during the war. We were impressed by the interactive exhibits that allowed us to try plane spotting (Mom and Tom tied), using radar, and building a Liberty Ship. Each small gallery is sponsored by some local person, business, or group.
Since we visited the Homefront WWII Museum we have recommended it to many of the Fort Frederica visitors. It is an especially good place to spend a rainy day because all the exhibits are indoors. We learned a lot and enjoyed our visit to the museum very much.