08/08/07 — 'USO' dance at museum August 18

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'USO' dance at museum August 18

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on August 8, 2007 1:45 PM

The public is invited to come "shake a leg" to the sounds of the 1930s, '40s and '50s at a USO benefit dance Aug. 18 in the Wayne County Museum.

The Woman's Club originally owned the building at 116 N. William St., which now houses the museum.

In August 1942, the United Services Organization began renting it for activities to provide respite to the troops home from the battlegrounds of World War II. At times, local historians say, there were up to 12,000 people visiting the USO in the course of a month. Dances were held, as well as picnics and Sunday dinners. Crafts were made, and the wives had a club of their own. In the music room, a snack bar was provided and a lounge with an open fireplace. Club members acted as volunteer hostesses and chaperones.

The building returned to the club in 1947, and in 1956 when Seymour Johnson Air Force Base was reactivated, the club rented the first floor to the USO again. And in 1973, the building was returned again to the Woman's Club.

In celebration of the USO days, a semi-formal dance will be held on Aug. 18 from 7 to 10 p.m. The dance will also kick off the museum's USO Exhibit, which will run from Aug. 18 through Sept. 15.

Museum manager Johnna Nelson has booked the 16-piece Starlight Band, which plays '30s, '40s and '50s tunes. Tickets to the dance are available for $25. Proceeds will benefit the museum.

For information, call 734-5023 or visit the museum between noon and 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.