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New Exhibit Illustrates U.S. Sruggle to Evict War-Time Intruders from Alaska
Provided by Dirk Spennemann via the Anchorage Museum, this digital photograph, "For the Fires of Hell," shows the Japanese Navy installed a fire hydrant system throughout their main camp, a clear indication they meant to stay on Kiska Island, which is nearly 1,400 miles west of Anchorage, Alaska, for a long time. This photograph is displayed in the exhibit “Kiska and Adak: War in the Aleutians,” on view through Dec. 31 at the Anchorage Museum. On Kiska, the cold has kept microbes at bay and perpetual clouds have reduced sun damage. Spennemann's been able to locate wood and fabric artifacts left behind by the troops. Critical to the survival of Kiska's relics has been its remoteness. (AP Photo/Dirk Spennemann via the Anchorage Museum
ANCHORAGE (AP).- Early in World War II, Kiska was a hotly contested battlefield that figured prominently in Japanese and U.S. news. Nearby, Adak supported a large military installation. In the new exhibition “Kiska and Adak: War in the Aleutians,” historic artifacts and then-and-now photographs illustrate the United States’ struggle to evict war-time intruders from Alaska.

Today, these islands are home to the physical remains of the World War II era. On Kiska, U.S. bomb craters dot the tundra and Japanese gun barrels point skyward, reminders of the air war’s ferocity.

Digital art by Dirk H.R. Spennemann presents the Kiska battlefield filtered through an artist’s gaze. These photographs were taken during historic preservation fieldwork with the National Park Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Spennemann used digital darkroom techniques to create grittier images more evocative of the war.

Also on display are objects and photographs from the National Park Service and the museum’s World War II and Cold War collections. Objects include American and Japanese military gear and cartoons from the military newspaper The Adakian. There are also examples of trench art, which soldiers created using discarded items such as bullet casings.

The exhibition is on view at the Anchorage Museum through December 31, 2010.

Anchorage Museum | Kiska | World War II | Dirk H.R. Spennemann |


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