Greensboro has a very fascinating part of its history that a lot of younger residents – and even some older ones – don’t know about. The city played a key role in World War II as the Overseas Replacement Depot – a key training and deployment site for thousands of soldiers and members of the Women’s Army Corps, the “WAC” – who then went off to war or filled positions in the US supporting the war.

You can learn all about it on “Forties Flashback” day – and night – at the Greensboro History Museum on Saturday, July 6.

The events at the museum that day will celebrate Greensboro’s pivotal role as the largest urban military base in the country during WWII at the Forties Flashback from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 6 at the History Museum at 130 Summit Ave. in Greensboro.

Visitors can enjoy a free afternoon of family fun seeing what life was like in Greensboro in the 1940s through the use of reenactors, vintage vehicles, and some fun hands-on activities.

World War II, Women’s Army Corps, and home front reenactors will demonstrate some of the training that took place at the Depot.

Back in the ‘40s, much of the military support activity was centered around Summit and East Bessemer avenues.  In 1941, Greensboro was headquarters for the First Technical Training District, Air Corps Technical Training Command, and it later expanded operations and was where about 90,000 men in the armed forces got their basic military training. The site later became the Greensboro Overseas Replacement Depot, which deployed more than 150,000 soldiers around the world.

 At the July 6 festivities at the museum, visitors can check out the galleries to hear costumed interpreters tell stories of Tuskegee Airman Andrew Johnson, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, Flying Ace George E. Preddy Jr. and other characters who played a prominent role 80 years ago.

During the afternoon, kids can do things like make scrap drive crafts with Reconsidered Goods or learn about the NC A&T Flight School while designing and flying paper airplanes.

The kids will also get a chance to fire off a .50 caliber machine gun with live rounds. Not really, but people who want to be bakers can sign up ahead of time to participate in a “Ration Book bake-off contest,” and everyone can listen in on flash talks on a wide range of 1940s topics. There will also be movies and newsreels from the period.

Goodies from the Hot Dog Central and Scoop Zone food trucks will be available for purchase.

The celebration continues into the afternoon with free swing dance lessons in Greensboro’s LeBauer Park from 4:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. with instructors from the Cat’s Pajamas.

The museum will reopen later at 6 p.m. for Greensboro Historical Museum After Hours: Swing Dance at the Service Club, which will last until 9 p.m.  Live music from Durham NC jazz standouts Dexter Moses Quartet featuring vocalist Lillian Faith starts at 7 p.m. Guests can enjoy signature cocktails for sale from GIA, fun and games around the museum, as well as a costume contest.

While the daytime events are free, the After Hours party is not. “Enlisted tickets” are $30 and include full admission, with drinks for sale inside. “Officers Club” tickets are $45 and include a drink ticket and complimentary goodie bag.

Tickets are on sale now. Additional information, bake-off contest entry registration, and After Hours tickets can be found at