Preparations for the Upcoming War Exhibition with Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) 2012

Dr. Burns was visited by Anne Wilkes Tucker, Curator Photography (MFAH) and Will Michels, War Photography Exhibition Guest Curator (MFAH) and expert on military photography. Research was conducted on The Burns Collection's war photography, particularly medical aspects, special battles, arms albums and revolutions. Tucker and Michels viewed thousands of photographs- from the Crimean War (1854-56) through Vietnam and The Cold War (1989) over an eight hour period.

Will Michels, Dr. Burns, Anne Wilkes Tucker and Lissa Rivera
Viewing the Civil War Medical Photography of Dr. Reed B. Bontecou 
Examining Dr. Reed Bontecou’s Civil War photographs of wounded soldiers. The images are shown in the design layout for Dr. Burns new book Shooting Soldiers: 101 Regiments, Photographs by Reed B. Bontecou, MD. Over 1000 photographs taken by Bontecou will be presented in four volumes now in production.

Will Michels, Dr. Burns and Anne Wilkes Tucker
‘The Ehrhardt Guns Album'
 ‘The Ehrhardt Guns Album' showcased the complete artillery catalogue of the company as well as early armored cars. The album also details the materials necessary to transport the weapons from mules to cars. It was a special memento- signed: “Presented as a Remembrance of the Visit of His Imperial Highness Prince Tsai Tao of China to the Proving Grounds at Unterluss, June 16th 1910” Dedicated by Rheinische Metallwaren - und Maschinenfabrik (Dusseldorf). The photographs document the war and Artillery Commissions from Chile, Italy, Turkey, Romania and especially China displaying latest in weapons, as well as the visits of the German Emperor, Imperial Highness Archduke Leopold Salvator of Austria,  His Imperial Highness Grand Duke Serge Michailowitsch of Russia. The guns represented majority of  the heavy weapons that would soon be use by German-Austrian axis members during World War I.

Mexican Revolutionary Firing Squad 1910
Discovering new photographs related to the Mexican Revolution 1910-1917 –including an album taken by Poncho Villa’s physician.
Over 2,000 Bains Co. WWI Photographs
Viewing the collection of over 2,000 Bains Co., Signal Corps and German images of World War I. Over two dozen albums by nurses and physicians were also evaluated. Images of plastic surgery repair of head and neck wounds were the highlight along with images of pioneer efforts of government rehabilitation programs.

Looking at a Display of Revolutions
Germany 1918, Russia 1917-18, Morocco 1920’s, Syria 1925, Cuba 193
Examining photographs of The Day of Potsdam, March 21, 1933
Examining photographs of The Day of Potsdam, March 21, 1933
Known now in Germany as the unholy ‘Day of Potsdam.’ The ‘Day of Potsdam’ is a symbol for the disastrous relationship between National Socialism and Prussianism which lead to the Enabling Act of 1933, giving the Nazis full legislative powers, even allowing deviations from the constitution. In these original photographs by Helmut Kurth-Goering’s personal photographer we see not only Hitler but rare images of Heinrich Hoffmann- Hitler’s personal photographer. Hoffmann’s photographs of Hitler and WWII are icons of German efforts at propaganda and the functioning of the German WWII war machine.

The Largest Collection of Images Related to the Battle of Nomonhan
Nomonhan- the 1939 episode in which Japan attacked Russia (May-October) with an outcome that changed world history.  Stalin sent General Georgi Zhukov with new T32 tanks to defeat the Japanese. Zhukov’s victory became possible due to his detailed planning and skillful use of motorized artillery against the Japanese Army. He was awarded the title ‘Hero of the Soviet Union’ and promoted to full general. It was Zhukov who later defeated the Nazi’s in the Eastern Front and conquered Berlin. Japan, an island nation, gave up the idea of attacking and evacuated Russia with its army. The Japanese Imperial war machine decided to strike 'south' with its navy and attack the United States. Dr. Burns believes it is the most important battle related to or part of WWII as the defeat altered Japanese interests and cooperation with the Nazis. As a result of the loss of the Japanese threat Russia could move its factories over the Urals away from Hitler’s armies. When the showdown came at the Battle of Moscow (The largest battle ever fought) and the Battle of Stalingrad, Stalin was able to call on dozens of Manchurian, Siberian and other Asian divisions to surprise Hitler’s armies and defeat them. Had these divisions (millions of men) not been available Hitler would have single-handedly won his Russian campaign and conquered all of Europe.

Looking at a D-Day Photograph Taken on Omaha Beach
Dozens of Nazi and American soldier’s albums were explored and including ones relating to the crimes of the Wehrmacht. While the crimes of the SS, especially the SS- Totenkopfverbände and particularly the SS- Einsatzgruppen and SD are well known, the regular armed forces represented by the Wehrmacht committed war crimes of their own, particularly on the Eastern Front in the war against the Soviet Union. The albums soldiers created were often well documented with dates, location and units involved.

Presenting an Unusual 'Cold War'' Album
This album was made by a Russian soldier sent to guard duty in East Germany in the mid 1970s. It wass beautifully illustrated and painted. A rare military memento made by a common soldier.

To learn more about...
Anne Wilkes Tucker, Curator Photography, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston- visit this LINK
Will Michels, Guest Curator, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston- visit this LINK
The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston- visit this LINK