Homefront 1945

Using archival film collections to bring local communities together

Project Description

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Homefront 1945, featuring Fury

Monte Rio, California, USA

November 2014


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“A spectacular evening of good food, new friends, local history stories and community fun. Thank you.”

Why was it run?

This event was part of a much wider project in which NARA and Historypin are working to increase interaction with the NARA’s extensive collection of World War I and World War II moving image and make these videos relevant to new audiences.


The US National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Rio Theater and Cafe, Russian River Historical Society and a Historypin Community Officer.


120 people from the local and surrounding area.

What happened?

“Homefront 1945”, was held at the Rio Theater in the rural community of the Russian River in California’s Sonoma County. Fury, starring Brad Pitt, was screened as the centerpiece to a night of time-travelling amongst showings of period cartoons, featurettes and digitally restored WWII films from the NARA archives.

Guests shared a vintage WWII themed dinner based on ration books and restaurant menus from that time, during which they could enjoy displays of photos and memorabilia. Older people from the community also shared stories recounting personal memories about friends and family during the war, including pilots doing a low flyby of the Guerneville bridge, and the experience of Japanese American neighbours who were imprisoned for the duration of the war.

The event was an opportunity to view NARA’s WWI and II videos in an interactive and engaging setting and highlight the relevance to personal and community history.

Read more on the blog

What was created?

A highly memorable event.


The audience loved seeing the actual newsreels which cinema-goers would have seen before a film in April 1945 before the main feature started.


120 participants had the opportunity to enjoy and experience WWI and II history outside a traditional museum setting.

“The Homefront 1945 event was extremely successful in bringing out a large number of older members of the community, in addition to the younger crowd our events have been targeting lately.” Co-owner, The Rio Theater

Future plans

The organisers are currently exploring a pilot with the Rio cinema to reduce isolation, increase social cohesion and improve mental health of older people in rural communities through a series of similar events that bring history out of the museum and into local, community spaces like theaters and libraries.