By MADDY VITALE
A service uniform and a wedding gown for Joe and Alice LaRosa are prominently displayed in the center of a new military exhibit at the Sea Isle City Historical Museum, highlighting the love and marriage of a couple on April 14, 1945, just months before the end of World War II.
The theme of the military exhibit is “Home for the Holidays,” just in time for Veterans Day and Thanksgiving. The backdrop covering portions of the museum’s large windows is comprised of American flags.
A circa 1940s table and chairs and a faux feast of mashed potatoes, gravy and turkey complete the dinner scene. To the left is a record player with big band leader Glenn Miller’s albums.
Behind the bridal gown and military uniform that were worn by the late Alice and Joe LaRosa, members of a well-known Sea Isle City family, are mannequins dressed as service men and women.
Throughout the sizable section of the museum are armed forces memorabilia, including service medals, badges and pins.
Museum volunteer Marie Peltier pointed to some notable pieces, including a yellowed newspaper with a big headline declaring that World War II was over.
Kate Bender, of Ocean View, and her daughter, Parker, 5, stopped in the museum Friday to take a look at the new exhibit.
“I think it is phenomenal,” said Bender, a fifth grade teacher in the Upper Township schools. “I hope more people come in to see this piece of history. Especially because Veterans Day is coming up.”
Peltier said Abby Powell, president of the museum, and the volunteers worked together over the last month to create and expand the exhibit, which formerly was tucked in the back of the museum.
“Abby was the mover and the shaker on this,” Peltier said. “All of the items were donated, and they were in the back.”
Peltier pointed out that the uniforms were not very visible in how they were displayed before the new exhibit.
“We had the uniforms on hooks. Now you can really see them on the mannequins,” she said. “Abby really got creative with putting this together.”
The main display before the military items created the new centerpiece of the museum was a celebration of the Sea Isle City Beach Patrol’s 100th anniversary this past summer.
Before the Beach Patrol exhibit took over, the same spot was occupied by a display of vintage bridal gowns. The oldest is from 1880.
Powell relocated the gowns to another area of the museum, where they are still very visible to guests, including the one from 1880.
For Powell and the volunteers, creating a special space for the military exhibit was so important, especially at this time of year.
“The men and women that served and are serving in the military have a special place in our hearts here in Sea Isle,” Powell noted. “We just thought it would be appropriate to show our honor for them all as Veterans Day approaches.”
For more information about the Sea Isle City Military Exhibit and the Sea Isle City Historical Society and Museum, visit www.seaislemuseum.com or call (609) 263-2992.