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Theatre

Vintage US Army Uniforms Donated to CWU Theatre Arts

Fifty years of US Army uniforms, from World War II to the Vietnam War, are now available to students in Central Washington University’s Department of Theatre Arts, thanks to another generous gift from Grant and Virginia Green of Alexandria, Virginia.

Grant’s mother helped establish Gallery One in Ellensburg, and worked with Central and its theatre and arts departments throughout her career. In addition, his aunt, Ramona Solberg taught at Central. When settling his mother’s estate, he chose CWU to receive her couture 1950s wardrobe as a gift to the university.

“We came to know of Central’s knowledge and experience with historical clothing and its educational programs,” wrote Green. “This is what has led us to gift these military uniform items of mine and father’s to Central.”

The uniforms represent his father’s 30-plus years in the US Army, “which included service in the Pacific during WWII and the Korean War.” Green also donated uniforms from his own 23-year career in the army, including his two tours of duty in Vietnam.

“It’s great to have these uniforms which represent such significant eras in US history,” said Scott Robinson, chair of theatre arts. “What is truly remarkable is that these are so complete, with the proper epaulets, button studs, and hats.”

The Green family donated six full uniforms, including formal mess uniforms, a summer dress uniform, and full army green and blue uniforms (the US Army replaced green with Army blue in 2009).

“These will be so useful in shows,” said Robinson. “It’s very powerful for an actor to put on article of clothing that carries the history of a real person that wore them.

“They will also be so valuable for teaching. Our students will be able to closely examine how the garments were made,” Robinson continued. “This can also be a springboard of research about uniform regulations, which are very specific as to the branch of service of the soldier.”

In addition to the uniforms, the Greens included a 1960s-era officer’s raincoat, a pre-World War II man’s hat, a bowler or “bob” hat from Bolivia, and a number of unique vintage feathers.

“These gifts will be an inspiration to theatre students for many years,” said Robinson.


Media Contact: Valerie Chapman-Stockwell, Public Affairs, 509-963-1518, valeriec@cwu.edu

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