Worcester, Mass. proud of 'Monuments Men' connection

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February 7, 2014, 6:21 pm
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(NECN: Mike Cronin) - "Anybody who works here has heard about George Stout and the work of the Monuments Men," Worcester Art Museum Library Director Debby Aframe says.

The movie is called "The Monuments Men," which is in theaters Friday. It tells the story of a group of people - made up of mostly art historians and museum curators who served during World War II to rescue art which was stolen by the Nazis. Clooney portrays George Stout - a former director of the Worcester Art Museum.

"I found pictures from our archive and I printed them out and I found pictures of George Stout," Aframe says.

Aframe set up a display case in the museum's library with artifacts and pictures related to the movie. Stout was one hundreds of men and some women who made up the Monuments Men. Museum Director of Emeritus Jim Welu says they saved thousands of stolen pieces - mainly paintings and sculptures.

"They were drawing up these guidelines for the military, where not to bomb, what to be careful, what churches, what sites, what was more important than something else," Welu says.

The Monuments Men haven't been well publicized until recently because Welu says documents about them were released 50 years after World War II. The group was also decommissioned in the early 1950s.

"So many of the men just didn't want to talk about the war," Welu says.

Welu says Stout wanted to ensure art would live on, which is a lesson Aframe is happy to share through the library's display. She calls it a Worcester treasure brought to life through the movies.

"So it's really important for the people who live here to understand what a critical institution this is to our community," Aframe says.

"We're bringing to the world this incredible story of men and women that sacrificed their lives to save the artwork and therefore saving civilization," Welu says.

Tags: massachusetts, Worcester, George Clooney, Mike Cronin, The Monuments Men, George Stout
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