BOALSBURG - Ever since the beginning of organized warfare, military leaders have been challenged with feeding armies in the field.
The Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg interprets the history of packaged rations for front line troops in its newest temporary exhibit, The Combat Ration, as part of the Historical and Museum Commission's annual theme, The Land of Penn and Plenty: Bringing History to the Table.
"The Commonwealth's theme for 2012 encourages the public to visit state historic sites and museums to discover what the past tells us about our food and how we eat it," said Joe Horvath, museum educator. "A number of other sites are participating with events, programs and exhibits. Our exhibit is focused on what military personnel in the 20th century consumed during combat."
Military veterans and active duty personnel will easily identify with the rations on display. While some may seem familiar, such as the Meal(s)-Ready-to-Eat, others take the observer back to a time of real "tin" cans, cellophane wrappings and waxed cardboard boxes.
During World War II, many Commonwealth industries received government contracts for war material production. The Hershey Corp. produced the Emergency Field Ration D Bar designed for use when a soldier, sailor, or marine is on the verge of starvation while the G.G. Greene Group of Warren manufactured the "Opener, Can, Hand, Folding Type 1" also known as the P-38 or "John Wayne."
The exhibit is scheduled to be up through November. Museum admission is required to view the artifacts. Hours of operation are Wednesday thru Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m.
The Pennsylvania Military Museum and 28th Infantry Division Shrine, administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, is located on South Atherton Street in Boalsburg, three miles east of State College and the Pennsylvania State University.
For more information on the museum call 814-466-6263 or visit www.pamilmuseum.org.