So Ready for Laughter

SPECIAL EXHIBITION GALLERY

NMUSA Image

So Ready for Laughter:
The Legacy of Bob Hope

Now Open!

Bob Hope elicited laughs across all media: through radio waves, on stage, and on the screen, in both television and film. But none of them mattered more than the humor he injected into American camps across the globe during World War II, as the Allies struggled to save the world for democracy.

This traveling exhibit shares the story of the iconic entertainer’s unique place in World War II history and beyond. Using multimedia elements and captivating storytelling, including artifacts, films, rare photographs and an interactive display, the exhibit highlights how Hope helped to lift the human spirit during one of the darkest times in American history.

The Special Exhibition Gallery will showcase, for a limited time, “So Ready for Laughter: The Legacy of Bob Hope” produced by The National WWII Museum. The gallery will also include a redesigned “The Art of Soldiering” exhibit, highlighting selections from the U.S. Army Collection.

Learn more about these new exhibits coming soon!

NMUSA Image
NMUSA Image

Free Public Programs

Explore these companion programs curated specifically for in-person and virtual visitors.


History Talk – Over Here, Over There: The USO and the U.S. Army

Wednesdays, September 7, 14, 21

12 – 1 p.m. ET
NMUSA Image

Laughter, celebrities and frivolity are the sounds and images many associate with the United Service Organizations (USO) and more specifically the “Camp Show.” These professional-quality variety shows featured America’s most popular comedians, vocalists and actors including Bob Hope, Lena Horne, Judy Garland and Lucille Ball in some of World War II’s most uncertain battlefields. The shows also provided Soldiers a brief respite from the uncertainty that lay ahead and an outlet for stress associated with wartime service.

While the lighthearted nature of the “Camp Shows” may stand out in American memory, the USO provided both places of lively social activity and quiet contemplation to Soldiers seeking a morale boost, religious comfort or a distraction. The USO was incorporated on February 4, 1941, to provide recreational opportunities and resources for World War II service members. The organization combined six social organizations into one formidable group that operated over 3,000 recreational clubs across the globe to provide Soldiers with lodging, food, resources and entertainment.

Learn how the Army values of selfless service and duty were channeled by civilians to support and uplift Soldiers during one of the darkest times in American history. Identify how those values have been carried on since World War II to support Soldiers through times of war and peace.

This History Talk is offered on three Wednesdays in September.
September 7 at 12 p.m. ET (virtual)
September 14 at 12 p.m. ET (virtual)
September 21 at 12 p.m. ET (virtual and in-person)

Register for the VIRTUAL History Talk on September 7 at 12 p.m. ET.

Register for the VIRTUAL History Talk on September 14 at 12 p.m. ET.

This program is offered virtually and in-person on Wednesday, September 21. In-person seats are limited and available on a first come, first served basis.

Register for the VIRTUAL History Talk on September 21 at 12 p.m. ET.

Register to attend the IN-PERSON History Talk on September 21 at 12 p.m. ET.


History Talk – The Art of Soldiering: Soldier Art and Culture in Vietnam

Wednesdays, October 5, 12, 19

12 – 1 p.m. ET
NMUSA Image

Culture binds people together. Formed from common values, beliefs, experiences, languages and customs, culture creates a shared sense of purpose and collective identity among groups of people. It can be seen in writing, religion, entertainment, clothing, food and activities of different groups.

The U.S. Army has its own culture based on the Army values, esprit de corps and the mission. While each Soldier’s experience is unique to their service, culture binds them together. During the Vietnam War, Soldier culture was formed by the clothing Soldiers wore, the food they ate, the entertainment they consumed and their shared experiences.

Through an examination of artifacts, film, and primary sources, gain additional insight into the commitments and sacrifices of Vietnam-era Soldiers and explore how these items contributed to a Soldier culture unique to this conflict.

This History Talk is offered on three Wednesdays in October.
October 5 at 12 p.m. ET (virtual)
October 12 at 12 p.m. ET (virtual)
October 19 at 12 p.m. ET (virtual and in-person)

Register for the VIRTUAL History Talk on October 5 at 12 p.m. ET.

Register for the VIRTUAL History Talk on October 12 at 12 p.m. ET.

This program is offered virtually and in-person on Wednesday, October 19. In-person seats are limited and available on a first come, first served basis.

Register for the VIRTUAL History Talk on October 19 at 12 p.m. ET.

Register to attend the IN-PERSON History Talk on October 19 at 12 p.m. ET.


Gallery Talk – “So Ready for Laughter” with the Chief Curator

Thursday, November 3

12 – 1 p.m. ET
NMUSA Image

Join Chief Curator Paul Morando for an inside look at the Museum’s first traveling exhibit, “So Ready for Laughter: The Legacy of Bob Hope,” as produced by The National WWII Museum. Morando discusses the concepts behind traveling exhibits and how this exhibit came to the National Army Museum. Following the Gallery Talk, Morando and in-person attendees tour the exhibit. The tour is not available for virtual attendees.

Register for this free VIRTUAL Gallery Talk

Register for this free IN-PERSON Gallery Talk

*Note, in-person attendance is open to all ticketed Museum visitors. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.


Supporting the Troops – Armed Services Blood Program Blood Drive

Thursday, November 17

9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. ET
NMUSA Image

During World War II, the United Service Organizations (USO) provided recreation and aid services for the men and women of the United States Armed Forces and renowned entertainer, Bob Hope, began entertaining American troops with the USO “Camp Shows.” This blood drive offers an opportunity to continue that spirit of community support for the military.

The Armed Services Blood Program (ASBP) is the official program for the U.S. military and blood donations at this event will specifically support ill or injured service members, their families and retirees at the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital, the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and U.S. Central Command combat support. ASBP will have protective COVID-19 health and safety measures in place. Blood donors should allow approximately one hour from entry to the “juice and cookies” exit.

Show your support for Soldiers and their families and register for an appointment. Your registration also serves as your general admission ticket to visit the Museum’s traveling exhibit, “So Ready for Laughter: The Legacy of Bob Hope” as produced by The National WWII Museum.

Learn more and register for a blood donor appointment


Gallery Talk – Bob Hope Takes His Show on the Road

Thursday, December 1

12 – 1 p.m. ET
NMUSA Image

Bob Hope entertained thousands of Soldiers at hundreds of bases over a decades-long United Service Organizations (USO) partnership. His show mixed comedy, music and popular culture to bring relief to exhausted troops serving overseas. This special exhibition highlights Hope’s World War II experiences. Hope’s USO career began May 6, 1941 when he performed his popular radio show for a live military audience at March Field in California. Inspired by the service members’ reactions, Hope took his radio show on the road, performing for troops at camps and bases across the country. Of the 144 broadcasts Hope recorded during the war, only nine were recorded in a studio.

Join the Museum’s Chief Curator Paul Morando for a discussion with Kim Guise, curator of the “So Ready for Laughter” traveling exhibit. Guise will participate live via Zoom and share how Hope transitioned his radio show into a road show, bringing laughter to generations of troops from World War II to Operation Desert Shield.

Following the Gallery Talk, Morando and in-person attendees tour the exhibit. The tour is not available for virtual attendees.

This free Gallery Talk is offered for VIRTUAL or IN-PERSON attendance.Register for this free VIRTUAL Gallery TalkRegister for this free IN-PERSON Gallery Talk

*Note, in-person attendance is open to all ticketed Museum visitors. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis.


Paid Programs

Explore these paid companion programs curated specifically for our visitors.


Ready to Laugh, Ready to Swing!
Golf Tournament

Thursday, October 20

8:00 am – 2:30 p.m. ET

NMUSA Image

 

The Army Historical Foundation is proud to be a sponsor of the latest National Army Museum special exhibit, “So Ready for Laughter: The Legacy of Bob Hope” produced by The National WWII Museum in conjunction with national sponsor Bob and Dolores Hope Foundation.

Bob Hope was an avid golfer and often performed with a golf club in his hand on stage. Join The Army Historical Foundation at the Fort Belvoir Officers Club and come together again in celebration of this latest exhibit. Individual, organizational, corporate, and community supporters are invited to join in the fun! The tournament will be played as a shotgun start with a catered breakfast and lunch provided at the club house.

Register for the AHF Golf Tournament