Exhibit features World War II Attu and Kiska artifacts

Japanese soldiers at B-24 wreck site.

Published photo of Japanese soldiers at wreck site of B-24 that was believed to be Lt. Henry Hubbard’s aircraft after it was hit by anti-aircraft fire. File photo.

The Alaska State Museum’s summer exhibits that highlight World War II in Alaska are closing October 13th. Museum officials say they will be the last major, locally curated exhibits before the current museum is dismantled and rebuilt as the proposed State Library, Archives, and Museum or SLAM project.

“When Over There Was Here” and “Kiska: A World War II Battlefield Landscape” feature artifacts recovered from Attu and Kiska, and Dirk Spennemann’s photographs of the remnants of the Aleutian Campaign.

Curator of Collections Steve Henrikson says it was ‘all hands on deck’ for the planning, item acquisition, preparation, and installation of the exhibit.


Among some of the featured items include uniforms, service patches, propaganda leaflets, a Japanese 37 mm field gun and an infantry gun, a Japanese flag carried by soldiers during the last charge on American troops on Attu, and artifacts from Lt. Henry Hubbard.

Hubbard was one of the first casualties reported when the U.S Army attempted to push back Japanese forces during the Aleutian Campaign. Hubbard was a navigator aboard a B-24 bomber that was shot down during a mission over Kiska Island in June, 1942. Many of Hubbard’s remaining personal effects likely would’ve disappeared forever if not for Alaska aviation historians who intervened and had the artifacts donated to the Alaska State Museum and Historical Collections. Hubbard’s daughter Gail Reban had put some of the items up on the internet auction site eBay and threw the rest out in the trash. Alaska aviation historian Ted Spencer contacted Reban before the items were lost forever. Some of those artifacts are now featured during the current exhibit at the Alaska State Museum.

You can find out more in this story that originally aired in 2005:


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Lt. Henry Hubbard and Esther Hubbard. Photo courtesy of Gail Reaban and Alaska State Museum.

Esther Hubbard photo courtesy of Gail Reaban and Alaska State Museum.

Esther and Henry Hubbard photo courtesy of Gail Reaban and Alaska State Museum.

Lt. Henry Hubbard. Photo courtesy of Alaska State Museum and Gail Reaban.

Esther Hubbard and Lt. Henry Hubbard. Photo courtesy of Gail Reaban and Alaska State Museum.

Lt. Henry Hubbard pin. Photo courtesy of Alaska State Museum and Gail Reaban.

Esther, Gail, and Lt. Henry Hubbard. Photo courtesy of Gail (Hubbard) Reaban and Alaska State Museum.

This B-24 Liberator was probably very similar to the aircraft that Lt. Henry Hubbard served aboard as navigator. File photo.

Published photo of crashed B-24, believed to be Lt. Henry Hubbard’s aircraft, after it was hit by anti-aircraft fire. File photo.

Published picture of combat at Kiska and a B-24, believed to be Lt. Henry Hubbard’s aircraft, as it was hit by anti-aircraft fire. File photo.

Published account of B-24 crash site which is believed to be that of Lt. Henry Hubbard’s aircraft after it was hit by anti-aircraft fire. File photo.

Notification telegram courtesy of Gail Reaban and Alaska State Museum.

Published photo of Japanese soldiers at wreck site of a B-24, believed to be Lt. Henry Hubbard’s aircraft, hit by anti-aircraft fire. File photo.

Published photo of B-24 wreck site, believed to be Lt. Henry Hubbard’s aircraft, hit by anti-aircraft fire. File photo.

War Department notification letter. Photo courtesy of Alaska State Museum and Gail Reaban.

Department of the Army notification letter. Photo courtesy of Alaska State Museum and Gail Reaban.

View of Kiska hillside where Lt. Henry Hubbard’s B-24 went down. Photo courtesy of Ted Spencer and Alaska State Museum.