Visitors can take a step back in time and learn about the life and history of the Berlin Blockade while visiting the Berlin Airlift exhibition presented by the U.S. Army Europe Museum from June 20 to mid-October in the lobby of the Mission Command Center.
In front of Naval aviation artist Robert G. Smith’s painting “The Berlin Airlift,” the new exhibition displays Soldiers’ uniforms, as well as goods transported to Berlin. Strung-up candy parachutes hover above.
Victoria Clibon, USAREUR Museum curator, said she wanted to show all of the major items that were shipped to Berlin, including flour, coal, medicine, milk and other food products. Three days alone she spent sewing flour sacks for the exhibition single-handedly.
The exhibition opening date coincided with the unveiling of the Berlin Airlift mural on Clay Kaserne to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the Berlin Airlift.
“Because the airlift started in 1948, we wanted to be aware of both — the beginning and the end of the airlift … and expose as many people as we could to the history of it,” Clibon said. The exhibition reminds visitors of the earliest stages of German-American cooperation.
“The Berlin Airlift is really important, as it’s the beginning of the German-American alliance,” Clibon said. “Before, we were definitely adversaries and the airlift showed the German people that we might have fought against you, but now we are rooting for you. We want to establish this alliance, and we want to grow as a global community. They saved the lives of the citizens of Berlin. It is definitely the root of the German-American alliance that we still see here today.”
Clibon was honored by notable exhibition visits from three Germans who were children in East Berlin during the blockade and experienced the airlift first hand, as well as from Denise Halvorsen-Williams and Marilyn Halvorsen-Sorensen, daughters of “Candy Bomber” Col. Gail Halvorsen.
The Berlin Airlift exhibition is located in the entrance hall to the MCC and is open during normal business hours to anyone authorized access to Clay Kaserne. The USAREUR Museum is in the basement of the MCC, displaying U.S. Army Europe’s history from World War I to current days. Visitor badges are available to ID card holders at the MCC’s front desk. The museum also has a special treat for visitors who want to experience a World War I trench by looking through virtual reality glasses, available at the front desk.