Guardian of History: Interview with WWII Collector Louis Badolato
Inspiration is everywhere, and so is help when you are lucky enough to find it. Late last year, I was standing on line at my little Peanut’s nursery school, and overheard one of the dads waiting for his kids talking about World War II. Because I am hopelessly obsessed about all things World War II, I oh-so-suavely interjected myself into the conversation, and found that the dad, Louis Badolato, has created a museum of World War II memorabilia.
A few oh-so-suave hints later, Louis invited me over to see his collection of toy soldiers, regimental banners, and recreations of pivotal battles in World War II. The pictures here hardly do this collection justice, and I am fortunate that Louis agreed to answer some questions.
Louis Badolato is an attorney, who also has an avocation as a guardian of history. I am so glad he gathers up these treasures; he is a worthy curator of the things the heroes of WWII carried. The items Louis have collected contain a wisdom of their own, and the toy soldiers, swords, patches, and photos all have their stories to tell about war and remembrance.
1. How would you describe your museum? What kind of things do you collect/curate?
My museum is a tribute to all of the brave American servicemen and other Allied forces whose sacrifices permit me and my loved ones to enjoy life and liberty. I collect traditional toy soldiers, more realistic matt military miniatures, vehicles, aircraft & dioramas, and military memorabilia, including rifles and bayonets, swords, medals, flags, regimental drums & banners, uniforms, hats, patches, Military Coins, paintings and period prints of all eras. My collection focuses on World War II, but ranges from ancient Roman times to the present conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many of my closest friends are Veterans of Wars from WWII to the present, and they have donated not just memorabilia, but their stories, all of which I treasure and strive to preserve.
I began collecting WWII memorabilia as a young boy. My grandmother gave me her brother my great Uncle Joseph Amana’s purple heart, burial flag, and USAAC wings. He had made the ultimate sacrifice as a B17 Crewman in the 8th Airforce in 1943. I had heard so much about him, and my other great uncles’ (John & Jack Amana) and uncle’s (Leo Badolato) service in WWII that it became a lifelong fascination.
3. What is your favorite object at the moment? Why?
Right now, my favorite object would probably be my Heco Tinplate Models Hawker Hurricane. It is a piece I have been after for quite some time, and I just managed to obtain it. A month from now it will probably be a classic King & Country item I came across after years of looking for it.
4. If somebody reading this interview has materials they would like to donate, or if they would like to find out more, is there a way they can contact you?
I can be reached by e-mail at Blckthrne7@aol.com.
When I visited with him, Louis very kindly recreated parts of the Battle of Poland, showing me how a Stuka would dive-bomb the people below, what it would look like from the ground. He’s a historian of WWII who also has opened his library to me (which I have ransacked!). He is also very patient when I ask him to extrapolate from actual battles — how, for example, the siege of Warsaw could have ended differently if an army of golems and demons were involved in the proceedings. :)
Thanks Louis for a very cool window into your passion for collecting, and for all that you’ve done to help me out!