The opening of the special exhibition Crucible: Life & Death in 1918 and a timely program focused on the complex issue of protection and detection of chemical weapons highlight the April events at the National WWI Museum and Memorial.
Opening Tuesday, April 3, Crucible: Life & Death in 1918 shows the unprecedented nature of 1918 by sharing stories of individuals who were caught in the crucible of 1918. For the Doughboys on the Western Front, it was the year when the American land forces forged their fighting force. They fought alongside their main allies: the British Empire, French, Italians, Czechs and the White Russians. The crucible gave American women great and unforeseen opportunities to serve their country in uniform.
Following the Armistice of Nov. 11, 1918 and the signing of the Treaty of Paris at Versailles in June 1919, the stable world of the aristocrats and monarchs vaporized. The German, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman Turkish, and Russian empires all collapsed. Bolshevism took over Russia. Japan’s power in Asia and the Pacific grew. China descended into civil war. Arab nations seethed for independence. Under British rule, Jewish settlement expanded in Palestine. The United States’ position in the world drastically changed as well. Crucible: Life & Death in 1918 opens April 3, and ends March 10, 2019.
At 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 10, the Museum and Memorial hosts retired General Richard Myers, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and current President of Kansas State University; Dr. Tom Sack, President and CEO of MRIGlobal; and Dr. Ron Trewyn of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility at Kansas State University for an extraordinary discussion of the enduring legacies of WWI and the complex issues of chemical warfare protection and detection in the 21st century. Moderated by Museum and Memorial President and CEO Dr. Matthew Naylor, this free program is in conjunction with the special exhibition John Singer Sargent Gassed. The painting Gassed, which is on loan from the Imperial War Museums in the U.K., is on exhibition in the U.S. for just the second time and its appearance in Kansas City marks the first occasion it’s been on exhibition in the Midwest.
Monday, April 9 marks the 101st anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, one of the most significant engagements in Canadian military history. To commemorate the centennial, Linda Granfield, author of The Vimy Oaks: A Journey to Peace, shares the incredible story of the Vimy Oaks and their journey from acorns in the battlefields of France to thriving oaks in Canada. The free program follows a ceremonial planting of a Vimy Oak sapping on the Museum and Memorial grounds at 5:30 p.m.
At 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 12, Join Patrick Gregory, former BBC journalist and co-author of An American on the Western Front, in a discussion of the incredible journey of Arthur ‘Clifford’ Kimber from the sunny optimism of springtime California in 1917 to the dank autumnal mists of northern France in 1918. Weaving Kimber’s vivid letters into the larger story of the U.S. involvement in the war, this free event provides a fresh glimpse of one soldier’s wartime experience.
In partnership with the First Division Museum at Cantigny Park, the Museum and Memorial hosts a discussion on the Battle of Cantigny in a free program at 2 p.m. on Sunday, April 15. The battle marked the first significant U.S. offensive in World War I, boosting Allied morale at a critical point in the war. Join Executive Director of the First Division Museum at Cantigny Park, Paul Herbert, as he discusses the First Division and the Battle of Cantigny, exploring how this watershed operation marked the U.S. Army’s transition into a modern military force.
The Ludendorff Offensives marked the furthest advances of either the Allied or Central Powers since the beginning of the stalemated war. At 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 17, Dr. Scott Stephenson continues the John J. Pershing Great War Centennial Series with a presentation on the context, effects and legacy of the Ludendorff Offensives. The John J. Pershing Lecture Series is presented in partnership with the Command and General Staff College Foundation and in conjunction with the centennial exhibition Crucible: Life & Death in 1918.
Other events occurring in April include: Mrs. Wilson’s Knitting Circle (10:30 a.m., April 7), the monthly Day in the Life program with Living Historians (all day, April 15), Hands-on History (11 a.m., every Saturday), a special edition of Hands-on History focused on the painting Gassed (1 p.m., every Saturday) and a Modernists happy hour program (5:30 p.m., April 26).
The National WWI Museum and Memorial holds the most comprehensive collection of World War I objects and documents in the world and is the second-oldest public museum dedicated to preserving the objects, history and personal experiences of the war.
April National WWI Museum and Memorial Events
- Every Wednesday: World War Wednesdays (all general admission tickets $8)
- Every Thursday, 2:30 p.m.: Complimentary Tour (FREE with paid admission)
- Every Saturday, 11 a.m.: Hands-on History (FREE)
- Every Saturday, 1 p.m.: Gassed Hands-on History (FREE with special exhibition admission)
- Saturday, April 7, 10:30 a.m.: Mrs. Wilson’s Knitting Circle (FREE with RSVP)
- Monday, April 9, 6:30 p.m.: The Vimy Oaks: A Journey to Peace (FREE with RSVP)
- Tuesday, April 10, 6:30 p.m.: Protection and Detection: Chemical Warfare (FREE with RSVP)
- Thursday, April 12, 6:30 p.m.: An American on the Western Front (FREE with RSVP)
- Sunday, April 15, 2 p.m.: Battle of Cantigny: Dawn of the Modern American Army (FREE with RSVP)
- Tuesday, April 17, 6:30 p.m.: Pershing Lecture Series: The Ludendorff Offensives (FREE with RSVP)
- Thursday, April 26, 5:30 p.m.: Modernist Happy Hour (FREE)
- Thursday, April 26, 7 p.m.: Member Meetup: Curator’s Gallery Conversation (FREE with RSVP)