Garst celebrates uniform donation with ‘A Night at the Garst Canteen’


GREENVILLE — On Nov. 7, Garst Museum will rock to the Big Band sound. The museum has received a donation of the World War II Army uniforms of Robert L. Niswonger Sr. and his wife, Agnes Carpenter Niswonger.

Agnes played trombone in the Army Band, making the band music of that era appropriate. Robert was born in Darke County and Agnes in nearby Randolph County, Indiana. As a young girl, Agnes and two of her sisters performed as the Carpenter Trio. She later was a member and director of the Sweet Adelines in Greenville.

Robert served as an infantryman in the Pacific. Agnes served in the Army as a WAC, playing in the Army Band. The two were married at the base chapel at Fort Oglethorpe in Georgia on Dec. 29, 1944. The reception was held at the mess hall. Agnes was given away by fellow WAC Miss Alice Lee, the French horn player from the Army Band.

Their son recently donated these uniforms to the Garst Museum for display in Keepers of Freedom, the military exhibit. The temporary exhibit will be unveiled at the Nov. 7 program. The new exhibit will consist of the uniforms, photographs and newspaper clippings.

After a short introduction and explanation of the exhibit, the Swing Era Big Band and Beyond will perform for an hour and a half. Limited dancing space will be available as well as refreshments provided by the Fort Greene Ville Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

This program, the second in the annual Speaker Series, is at 4 p.m. on Nov. 7 at the Garst Museum. Admission to the program is free, but regular admission applies if you wish to tour the museum. The museum is available for tours on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Staff report

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