Naper Settlement Exhibit Tells Local Story of World War II

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Local Story of World War II

Naper Settlement has a new exhibit.

“Answering the Call: Naperville at War 1941-1945” tells the local story of World War II.

“It’s almost entirely about Napervillians and whether they were on the home front or they served abroad,” said Dina Spoerl, the exhibits team leader at Naper Settlement. “World War II has thousands and thousands of stories. We’re not trying to tell all of that, we’re really trying to tell what it was like for the people who lived here at the time.”

According to Andrea Field, who is the curator of research, 20% of Naperville residents went into service. That’s when Kroehler Manufacturing started hiring more people – including women.

“In the middle of the war, around 25% of the workforce at Kroehler are going to be women,” said Field. “So what we think as Rosie the Riveter happened here in Naperville.”

Arnie Massier Items

The exhibit tells these stories through pictures, scrapbooks, and other memorabilia.

There are also many items from longtime Naperville resident Arnie Massier, who was a WWII vet and prisoner of war.

“What we were able to do with Arnie’s story was really employ him as the local guide through the war itself,” said Spoerl.

Around 2,500 items of Massier’s were donated to the settlement. One of those is his uniform from the war.

The WWII exhibit will be on display through January 2022.

Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.