“WW II Heroes” exhibit at Museum of the Big Bend

World War II veteran E.T. Roberts poses with photographer Zach Coco. 

The culmination of a four-year project by Zach Coco, Museum of the Big Bend will present “WWII Heroes,” Coco’s photographic collection of men and women who served in the military during World War II.

The exhibit will feature 31 portraits of World War II veterans, and premieres on Monday, Jan. 18, from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Artifacts from the Museum’s collection donated by people in the Big Bend who served in World War II will supplement the show.

Born on Veterans Day, Coco, a Syracuse, N.Y., native, has held great appreciation for, and connection with, the nation’s military heroes. This came by way of his grandfather, a World War II veteran.

With the passing of his grandfather, Coco realized the opportunity was quickly passing to photograph and interview the men and women of “The Greatest Generation” in appreciation for their service and sacrifice for the cause of freedom.

Said Museum Director Mary Bones, “This is a beautiful exhibit, and I hope it will inspire visitors to start talking with family and friends, and record their life experiences. Once those people are gone, all of that goes with them. It’s such a rich history that’s being lost if we don’t take a little bit of time.”

Maggie Rumbelow, Curator of Temporary Exhibits, worked one on one with Coco to select the images and biographies for the exhibit. Matt Walter, Curator of Collections, found the artifacts in the Museum’s permanent collection to tell the story of Big Bend citizen involvement in the war.

“We’re going to do something unique this year,” said Bones. “We will premiere the show on Monday, Martin Luther King Day. We decided that a lot of folks would be able to participate because of the holiday. We want folks to have the opportunity to see this wonderful exhibit celebrating the men and women who served in the Armed Forces during World War II.”

Biographies for the portraits can be viewed on cell phones with a quick response, or QR, code on labels next to each portrait. Gallery guides will be available as well. All works will be for sale, with proceeds donated to area VFW and American Legion chapters.

The exhibit runs through Thursday, March 25. After the premiere, the Museum will be open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

The Museum received funding support for “WW II Heroes” from Humanities Texas.

Museum of the Big Bend is located on the campus of Sul Ross State University. To learn more, visit museumofthebigbend.com, or call 432-837-8143.

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