Dozens of sites teach visitors about World Wars I and II 

Roland Leiser

A German WWI bi-plane at the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach. (Marvin Bond)

Major exhibits and community events mark 2017’s anniversaries of World War I and World War II. Find an exhibit or event near you and learn more about local roles in two major world conflicts. 

DELAWARE

Delaware Division of Historical and Cultural Affairs

history.delaware.gov

The museum’s website is displaying 27 World War I propaganda posters in the online exhibit Drawing America to Victory. Because the unframed posters are fragile, they can be viewed only online.

Delaware Historical Society

Wilmington, Del. 

dehistory.org

An exhibit exploring Delawarians on the battlefront and the home front opens Nov. 17 for a year’s run. The immersive experience on the second floor of the Delaware History Museum takes you to 1917 with propaganda posters, souvenirs brought home by soldiers, and Delmarva Red Cross memorabilia. Context also comes from the grass roots campaign by the Wilmington Library to survey the 10,000 returning Delaware soldiers.

Johnson Victrola Museum

Dover, Del.

history.delaware.gov

Nov. 11 marks the museum’s 50th anniversary, which remembers the first World War with the program “The Victors of World War I: The Power of Music.” It runs 9:00am–4:30pm and will feature patriotic songs that influenced the war effort, played with 78 rpms on an authentic Victor Talking Machine. Free admission, but donations accepted. 

MARYLAND

Laurel Museum

Laurel, Md. 

laurelhistoricalsociety.org

An exhibit, Laurel’s WWI: From Here to Over There, runs through Dec. 17 and explores the impact of war on Laurel’s residents. 

NORTH CAROLINA

The Museum of Cape Fear Historical Complex

Fayetteville, N.C. 

910-486-1330, museumofthecape.ncdcr.gov

A 10-panel exhibit, North Carolina in the Great War, runs Oct. 3–Nov. 12. 

82nd Airborne Division Memorial War Museum

Fort Bragg, N.C.

82ndairbornedivisionmuseum.com

A permanent gallery on World War I highlights the division’s organization and training, as well as its combat roles, with displays of uniforms, weapons, and equipment. 

Barton College

Wilson, N.C. 

barton.edu/wwi

A symposium, “Returning Over There: The U.S. and World War I,” is the topic Oct. 13–14 at Barton College. Subjects include North Carolina doughboys, land and sea battles, the Spanish flu epidemic, and the war from the German viewpoint. J.M Barrie’s Echoes of the War, stories about the effect of the war on families, will be performed Friday evening. 

PENNSYLVANIA 

U.S. Army Heritage and Educational Center

Carlisle, Pa.

usahec.armywarcollege.edu

Open all year, the center’s 1-mile “Army Heritage Trail” includes a replica of a World War I trench. 

VIRGINIA 

Caroline County

visitcaroline.com

Each Saturday, Oct. 7–Nov. 11, the county remembers World War I and World War II with exhibits at museums, art centers, and selected shops. The promotion suggests motorists use less-traveled U.S. Route 301 and state Route 207, instead of Interstate 95. 

Edith Bolling Wilson Birthplace Museum

Wytheville, Va. 

edithbollingwilson.org/current-exhibition

World War I: From Wytheville to the White House, an exhibit on President Woodrow Wilson’s wife, begins Oct. 14 and runs until 2018. The exhibit explores the first lady’s time in the White House, on the home front, and abroad. 

Manassas Museum

Manassas, Va. 

manassasmuseum.org

Beginning Oct. 6 and running into next year, The Forgotten World War: Its Impact At Home takes a local angle on how World War I affected the population of Prince William County and Manassas, centering on music, propaganda, and the Spanish flu epidemic. 

Military Aviation Museum

Virginia Beach, Va. 

militaryaviationmuseum.org

A collection of 21 World War I and World War II aircraft from the U.S., United Kingdom, France, and Germany are housed in authentic hangers. The museum’s annual biplane and triplane event, Oct.7–8, is a full experience with planes soaring, living history, festive beer garden, live music, and food trucks. 

National Museum of the Marine Corps

Triangle, Va.

usmcmuseum.org

A permanent gallery on World War I displays weapons and uniforms from the conflict. In addition, the museum includes a fully restored Liberty Truck that was used to transport war materiel. 

U.S. Quartermaster Museum

Fort Lee, Va. 

www.qmfoundation.com

Located outside Fort Lee near Petersburg, the museum has an ongoing exhibit, Battle Ready: The Quartermaster Mission in World War I, through the end of this year and beyond that illustrates the role of the corps during World War I and earlier. 

Virginia War Museum

Newport News, Va. 

warmuseum.org

Various World War I items are on display in a permanent exhibit that includes a Holt artillery tractor, a 1917 tank, a Krupp howitzer, and a German mortar. Also featured are a Stuart light tank, a 1942 Ford-made Jeep, and a German anti-aircraft gun from World War II. 

Middlesex County Museum

Saluda, Va. 

middlesexmuseum.com

The center will honor three notable area veterans — Beryl R. Newman, a World War I Medal of Honor recipient; George Taylor, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen; and Chesty Puller, a World War II general and the most decorated Marine in history — in the exhibit Heroes of Middlesex County. Stories are told through video, oral histories, and posters. 

William King Museum of the Arts

Abingdon, Va. 

williamkingmuseum.org

The museum will host two companion exhibits, The Great War — Printmakers of World War I and In the Trenches, with World War I memorabilia such as uniforms, helmets, and mess kits. The display runs through Nov. 5. 

WASHINGTON, D.C. 

Washington Walks

washingtonwalks.com/tours

Little known World War I sites in the nation’s capital are featured in two-hour walks Oct. 7 and Nov. 11, beginning at Pershing Park at 2:00pm. Walks exploring “The Great War in Arlington Cemetery” are scheduled Oct. 15 and Nov. 12 and include a visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, dedicated Nov. 11, 1921. Meet at Arlington Cemetery Metro Station at 1:00pm. A federal or military ID earns a $5 discount. 

National Museum of African-American History

Washington, D.C. 

si.edu/museum/african-american-history-and-culture-museum

The newest museum on the National Mall includes a section called “Double Victory: The African-American Military Experience.” Among other museum features, there’s a portrait of World War I Croix de Guerre recipient Cpl. Lawrence McVey in 1918, a gallery about the 92nd Infantry Division in Italy’s Po Valley in World War II, and a “Wall of Service” that depicts battles and events, and includes a display of Medal of Honor winners and their stories. Timed-entry passes generally required.  

Library of Congress

loc.gov

The library’s webinar “Echoes of the Great War” taps into documents, photos, and personal histories. Free, but registration is required at loc.gov\exhibitions\ww1 for each visit to the site. The 40-minute programs include “Woodrow Wilson Chooses War,” Oct.24; “Lest Liberty Should Perish” from the print and photo division about Joseph Pennell, wartime printmaker, Oct. 28; and “Charles Hamilton Houston and WWII” about the chief attorney of the NAACP who was an officer in a segregated military, Dec. 12. 

The President Woodrow Wilson House

Washington, D.C.

woodrowilsonhouse.org 

Opening Oct.15, an exhibit will explore the history of the so-called Ghost Fleet in Mallows Bay on the Maryland side of the Potomac River. President Wilson had ordered 1,000 ships to be built for the war effort, which ended before the vessels could be put in service. They were scrapped and sunk but remain an archaeological and ecological treasure you can still see.

Marvin Bond 

A German WWI bi-plane at the Military Aviation Museum in Virginia Beach.

 

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