East Carolina University Viewing and Lecture – Landing at Iwo Jima: Preserving a Rare WWII Rubber Map from the Battleship North Carolina

On February 19, 2011, the 66th anniversary of the landing of the US invasion on Iwo Jima, historians and conservators from ECU will hold a public viewing of a rare rubber topographic map depicting Iwo Jima during WWII. The map illustrates several air strips and roads on the island and was used for training naval intelligence officers. After this event, the map will return to the Battleship North Carolina collection in Wilmington, NC.

Over the past six months, conservators have preserved the map by removing previous restorations that caused deterioration of the rubber. During the conservation process, conservators discovered never before seen stenciling on the reverse site of the map as well as unique construction details.

The Director of Conservation, at ECU, Susanne Grieve says, “We are excited to show the results of our work on such a unique historical object with the public. This is truly a rare opportunity to view the map before it is returned to the Battleship North Carolina collection.” The map will be stored in an oxygen free environment to ensure the rubber does not deteriorate further.

The public viewing will be held at ECU’s Joyner Library conference room 2409 from 10:30am to noon and will feature presentations by Susanne Grieve on the process of preserving the map, Department of History Professor Dr. Michael Palmer on World War II, Department of History Professor Dr. John Tucker on Japan in World War II, and Joyner Library Special Collections Curator Jonathan Dembo on the Joyner Library World War II special collections.

Professor Dembo shares, “I will also take the opportunity to display several digitized items from a few of many manuscript collections in Joyner Library that document the Battle for Iwo Jima.  The items range from original letters and action reports to maps showing the landing beaches on Iwo Jima and the Western Pacific theater that give a first-hand account of the battle.”

This event is free and open to the public.  For more information contact Susanne Grieve at (252) 328-4407 or by email at grieves@ecu.edu.

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