(This exhibit was on display January 9 - December 31, 2006)
The new “Pheasant Canteen” exhibit was a re-creation of the original canteen which was opened on August 19, 1943, as a project of the American Red Cross and the USO. Its purpose was to bring food and encouragement to soldiers, sailors, and marines who were traveling through Aberdeen toward training facilities or deployment.
An average of 500 military a day passed through Aberdeen on 4 - 6 trains. Sometimes as many as 1,500 people in one day and into the night arrived. They were always greeted with the same hospitality and food such as fruit, cheese, cake, coffee, pies, milk, cookies and plenty of pheasant sandwiches. Individuals and groups wishing to support the canteen effort donated much of this food.
Farmers in the area first donated pheasants at Christmas time 1943. Later, pheasant hunts were organized by local hunters to aid the canteen. After 2-½ years of service, the “pheasant canteen” served its last meal on March 31, 1946. Hundreds of volunteers serving thousands of pounds of food demonstrated that Aberdeen and the surrounding areas indeed had a great compassion for the troops serving in World War II.
This new exhibit featured W.W. II military uniforms from the three branches of the service, Army, Navy, and Marines, whose members traveled through Aberdeen. There were original Red Cross uniforms and a large serving table reminiscent of the canteen. Photographs, letters and schedules were included along with sample Christmas boxes (cigar boxes packed with small personal items) given to the soldiers during the holidays. Everyday at the canteen at least one birthday cake was provided so that any soldier celebrating a birthday could have a special cake in honor of his/her day.
To view other past exhibits, please click here.