As the world continues to grapple with the COVID-19/Coronavirus, the National WWI Museum and Memorial has shifted its programming and engagement/learning opportunities to the digital realm so that people can continue to understand the enduring impact of the Great War.
Though the Museum remains closed through April 24, the organization continues to offer a variety of interactive opportunities for people around the globe.
A mainstay of the organization’s programming for several years, the Museum and Memorial has shifted its bi-monthly program Mrs. Wilson’s Knitting Circle to a virtual event at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 4. Just as in WWI, knitting is a way to share comfort and bring a community of friends together to talk, laugh and create. For this edition, participants will take their knitting needles online as Camille Kulig, Public Program Specialist, discusses the rise of Modern art in the 1910s and 1920s. The event is open to the public and to knitting beginners/experts. RSVPs are encouraged at my.theworldwar.org/6006.
While the Museum is currently closed, the public is welcome to tour the Main Gallery and the exterior grounds virtually. In collaboration with Google Arts & Culture, the organization offers three tours featuring audio in addition to the ability to enlarge/zoom in to different aspects of the galleries and the exterior Memorial. Additionally, the Museum and Memorial offers more than a dozen interactive online exhibitions covering a variety of subjects, including African Americans in WWI, the Christmas Truce of 1914, the role of food in the Great War and much more. These interactive elements are available at theworldwar.org/online-exhibitions.
Image: Red Cross Motor Corps during the Influenza epidemic, St. Louis, Mo. c. 1918. Image courtesy of the National Archives. https://catalog.archives.gov/id/45499293
The Museum and Memorial offers a variety of education-specific offerings including a recently-added section detailing the 1918 flu pandemic and the lessons that can be applied today as well as a video with discussion questions. The Museum and Memorial has a robust and searchable Teaching Resource Database that features primary source materials, articles, images, video and much more. Content can be searched by grade level, subject and type. This free resource can be accessed at theworldwar.org/education. Additionally, the organization has collaborated with teachers and professors across the world to develop dozens of free/downloadable lesson plans for students of all grade levels. Subjects range from examining patriotism through propaganda posters, how technology changed the way WWI was fought, the impact of animals on the war and much more. Lesson plans are available at theworldwar.org/museum-lessons.
The Museum and Memorial offers hundreds of viewable presentations, lectures and special ceremonies on its YouTube channel for free. The organization set a record in 2019 with more than 10 million minutes watched from residents in more than 200 countries and territories across the world. The range of topics is immense with presentations from internationally renowned scholars and authors. Videos are available for viewing at youtube.com/user/NationalWWIMuseum.
Additionally, the organization continues to create content specifically for social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Recently, the organization shared a special children’s Story Time program on Facebook featuring a reading of Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote. The organization partnered with Bristow to host a live Q&A on Twitter about the 1918 flu pandemic featuring scores of questions from people across the world. Additional video tours of gallery spaces will be shared soon as well as a collaboration with Thrive Pilates & Movement Studio addressing the WWI origin of Pilates coupled with beginner-level exercises.
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 object, history and personal experiences of the war.
About the National WWI Museum and Memorial
The National WWI Museum and Memorial is America’s leading institution dedicated to remembering, interpreting and understanding the Great War and its enduring impacts on the global community. The 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 experiences of the war. The Museum and Memorial takes visitors of all ages on an epic journey through a transformative period and shares deeply personal stories of courage, honor, patriotism and sacrifice. Designated by Congress as America’s official World War I Museum and Memorial and located in downtown Kansas City, MO., the National WWI Museum and Memorial inspires thought, dialogue and learning to make the experiences of the Great War era meaningful and relevant for present and future generations. To learn more, visit theworldwar.org.
(Source: Press Release, The National WWI Museum and Memorial. Image: National Archives.)