History on display

During World War II, the Minot State Teachers College campus was filled with men in uniform.

That proud history will be discussed during a history presentation at the Taube Museum of Art at 1 p.m. May 4. The presentation is free and open to the public.

Bob Schwartz, an intern with the “Digital Minot: An Online Museum of Local History” project, said he pored over historical archives and conducted interviews to learn more about the WWII Navy V-12 Program, a worldwide initiative by the U.S. Navy to train qualified officers for the war effort.

During the 28 months the program was in existence, there were about 800 men attending classes on campus, earning general credits towards bachelor’s degree.

“A majority of the student body at that time were the V-12 guys,” said Schwartz.

Schwartz said nationwide there were 131 schools that participated in the program.

During his research, Schwartz looked through old copies of the Red and Green, the school newspaper, and examined a handmade photo album compiled by the chief enlisted director of the program with the V-12. The album had been stored in a closet on campus and forgotten until it was rediscovered by Mark Timbrook, said Schwartz.

Schwartz said some of the pictures from the photo album will be shown during his presentation and portions of it will be put on the Digital Minot website. Eventually the program hopes to digitize the whole album and also reproduce it for the special collections at the Gordon B. Olson Library on campus.

Schwartz also interviewed Leland Brand, who was an aviation instructor for a different Navy program on campus during World War II.

The other presentation will detail the history of the building that is now the Taube Museum of Art at 2 N. Main. One of the earliest structures at the location was a hardware store built in 1897. The same site later became the location of an opera house, in 1900, and the town’s first post office. In 1915, the building was purchased by the Union National Bank, which accommodated other businesses such as a dentist’s office, a barbershop, a tailor shop and private residences. The Union National Bank moved to a new location and sold the building to the United Services Organization in 1965, which remained there until 1976. The building stood vacant for nearly two decades. It was named a historical landmark in 1983. Colleen Johnson and Elliot Obedin donated the building to the Minot Art Association in 1992 and it was opened as the Taube Museum of Art in 1997.