World War I Trench WarfareFighting in the mud and rain

Commemorating World War I

Chillicothe Area Arts Council

June 28, 1914 to November 11, 1918, World War I was fought. Also known as the First World War, The Great War or the Forgotten War, its devastation included 37 million killed, wounded or missing with over 8 million known dead. Land boundaries and political, social and emotional changes resulted around the world, leaving a lasting impact 100 years later.

To commemorate World War I, and to give local and area residents opportunities to learn more about this time in history, the Chillicothe Area Arts Council, the Grand River Historical Museum and the Livingston County Library have joined to present a series of events running from Sunday, November 1 to Sunday, November 15. These events include lectures, films, exhibits, demonstrations, and a concert of music from the World War I era performed by a band of over 50 professional musicians. All events are open to the public and all are free except the Night at the Museum ($5) where coffee and doughboy donuts will be served by the Salvation Army (as it was in World War I) and the band concert ($15) which is part of the arts council’s 2015-16 arts season. All events will be held at the museum, the Courtroom on the library’s second floor, or at the Gary Dickinson Performing Arts Center.

Museum director Pam Clingerman, library director Robin Westphal, library staff members Jean Looff and Kirsten Mouton and arts council administrator Julie Ashbrook have worked for several months to put together a set of events they believe will be both enjoyable and educational for persons of all ages in our region.

“Although the United States did not enter the war until 1917, we wanted to present events now, so that people in our area would have a chance to be informed about and to be thinking about the impact of this war on our lives today,” Ashbrook said. “We know that a great deal of programming and writing about this war will be presented around the world over the next three years, and we wanted to present opportunities here to learn about the war now, so we would all have some knowledge to build on. With General John J. Pershing, head of the American Expeditionary Forces, growing up just 20 miles from here, and with the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, we north Missourians should be informed about this war,” Ashbrook said.

“Expanded World War I exhibits have been prepared at the Grand River Historical Society Museum, and special lectures and films will be ongoing,” curator Pam Clingerman said. “I grew up in England so the stories I heard about World War I were different from the stories I have heard while living in the United States. In England the war changed the class system dramatically, and of course in Europe there were so many young women at that time who never married because so many young men died in the war. In our area of Missouri there was much for me to learn. I did not know about all of the mules that were raised in Missouri and sent to work in WWI or about all of the food that was raised in the Midwest and sent to feed the troops. We are going to have an exhibit during this time of the sock-knitting machine that was patented by a Missouri manufacturer and used to knit socks for WWI. This machine gave women a way to make a little bit of money to eke out their household budget while helping with the war effort on the home front. Missouri played a large role in the war,” she said.


“When we began researching about the impact of WWI on our area, Kirsten Mouton had just begun working at the library, and she said she would take on trying to find who had served,” Jean Looff, adult program coordinator at the library, said. “Kirsten unearthed a wealth of information. We are displaying beautifully illustrated sheet music from that era that was donated by the late Biggy Scanlon, a former Breckenridge resident. We have developed lists of books and movies available at the library on the topic of WWI, both fiction and non-fiction. And we are bringing in speakers who are experts in various areas of WWI history,” Looff said.

The events kick off this Sunday with the 1 p.m. showing of a film at the Grand River Museum, 1401 Forest Drive. The film is about a boy and his horse during WWI. The viewer witnesses the machinery of war that changed in WWI from the traditional use of cavalry to weapons of such devastation that both mankind and animals died in unimagined numbers.

Expanded WWI exhibits will be on display at the museum as well as the winning essays and posters from a recent contest for Livingston County middle and high school students on such WWI topics as the role of women, trench warfare, and the impact on social change in the world. A short documentary of the American doughboy will also be running as an exhibit through November 15 at the museum.

Tuesday, November 3, events will run back-to-back at the library (450 Locust) and museum with trench warfare expert Larry Burke from the Kansas Humanities Council speaking at 5:30 p.m. at the library on the topic “Eye-Deep in Hell”. Following the lecture, a 7 p.m. program “Night at the Museum” will begin at the museum with the Salvation Army serving coffee and donuts, a little bit of home that was enjoyed by WWI doughboy soldiers. Chillicothe High School choral groups will be in various parts of the museum singing songs from the WWI home front, and numerous exhibits of the WWI military and home front articles will be on display.

From noon to 1 p.m., Wednesday, November 4, curator Denzil Heaney of the Pershing Boyhood Home State Historic Site will speak on General Pershing, and on the efforts to construct a memorial garden from the earth of WWI battlefields, a tribute to Pershing’s commitment to honor lost soldiers. The 4th and 5th grade ukulele band directed by Dan Venner will present songs of WWI at noon, followed by Mr. Heaney’s lecture. Reservations for a $5 lunch can be made by calling the arts office at 660-646-1173 or emailing

The Caldwell County News

101 South Davis
P.O. Box 218
Hamilton, MO 64644
Phone: 816-583-2116

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