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Out of the Museum

This week’s mystery item might surprise you

By: Carol Feineman, Editor
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LINCOLN AREA ARCHIVES MUSEUM

Where: Beermann Plaza at 640 5th St.

When: Open 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays

Free: Donations always accepted

You never know what you’ll learn by seeing different artifacts and materials at the Lincoln Area Archives Museum.

If you know what this week’s mystery item is and whether you or someone you know used it, please send answers to carolf@goldcountrymedia.com by Tuesday.

Last week’s mystery item

Paul Long: “I'm sure you are going to get a lot of great stories on dog tags. A little history on dog tags. President Thomas Jefferson wrote the first dog licensing law for his home state, Virginia, because his sheep were being killed by dogs. He wanted to identify the dogs’ owners and to make them pay for the sheep their dogs killed. By the 1850s, most states had dog licensing laws.

When the United States entered World War I, all soldiers were issued two ID tags. In World War II, the nickname dog tags was given to military ID tags because they resembled the dog license tags. The dog tag pictured is a short chain tag to be put around the big toe of a fallen soldier. The 24-inch long chain tag is for record and notification of family.”

Susan Worthington: “Being a teen raised in the peaceful protest ’60s... We resisted violence and often wore the dog tags of family, friends or loved ones as a necklace in their honor. They were the identification tag worn by the soldiers so, God forbid, if something happened to them, we knew who they were. I support the method.”

The particular dog tag featured in last week’s paper, however, was for children. Children’s dog tags issued throughout the United States were called “official Civil Defense identification tags,” according to the Lincoln Area Archives Museum docents. The tags were issued, starting with the Cold War in 1950.

Lincoln resident Cheri Weygandt shared her identification tag with the museum.  Cheri lived in San Rafael in the 1950s and wore her tags. The Cold War was from 1947 to 1991.

Bertha Rameriz remembers that she and her siblings wore identification bracelets in the 1960s in Southern California. 

I wore my tag in Florida in the 1960s, following the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Teachers and children also “ducked and covered,” starting in the 1950s, as a way to help keep students safe from foreign attack. In April 1972, Carlin C. Coppin Elementary School students in Lincoln had their first Duck and Cover Drill at the new school after they moved from the Mary Beermann School. Everyone stayed “ducked and covered,” until the principal made sure that everyone was in place and then the all-clear bell sounded.

Museum docents would like readers to share civil defense tactics they experienced. Bring in paraphernalia of any type to the museum as a loan or donation.

Visit the Lincoln Area Archives Museum from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays.