A one-of-a-kind map in the Marshall Foundation Archives that was carried ashore in Normandy during the D-Day invasion in June 1944 is featured among the 2014 Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifacts Program sponsored by the Virginia Association of Museums (VAM).
The program will draw attention to significant historic artifacts to raise awareness about the costs involved in preserving them. Readers are encouraged to visit the VAM web site at https://vam.site-ym.com/?Top10 to view the candidates for the top ten nomination and vote for a favorite or favorites through August 23. Readers who visit the Marshall Museum and vote there will receive free admission. In addition they will be able to see the map on display in the Marshall Library during normal hours of operation.
The map was carried ashore by Lt. Gen. Leonard T. Gerow, of Petersburg, Virginia, who commanded the V Corps when he landed at Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. Laminated and once folded, it includes handwritten notes for geographic targets and lines of troop advancements.
General Gerow, a graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, class of 1911, and the commander of all forces landing on Omaha Beach, used this map to plan the landing operations and carried it with him from June 6-13, 1944. Among the units under his command was the 29th Infantry Division, which is a National Guard unit from Virginia. The 116th Infantry Regiment in which “The Bedford Boys” served is also designated on the map. The map is the only one of its kind.
The map’s ability to convey the importance of the landings at Omaha Beach to the larger Normandy operation and the involvement of Virginians in the landings reveals its significance to both the history of the nation and the Commonwealth.
The map is in stable condition but is showing signs of slow deterioration.
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