National World War I Museum

Homeschoolers studying WWI may want to head to Kansas City, Missouri. This
is the location of the official National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial.
When you first enter, you'll notice that the entryway  floor is transparent.
Thousands of poppies are growing on the ground below. The poppies
represent the death of combatants during World War I.

Don't skip the introductory movie, "War on the Edge".
It's focus is on the things leading up to WWI, and the
world situation at that time.  The archival imagery is
powerful, and we came away with a better under-
standing of the origins of this war.

Some of the World War I objects on view include a
Renault FT tank, soldier uniforms, postcards, grenades,
and an original Model 1917 Harley Davidson motorcycle.
Long-time collector Gerald D. Wilson donated 119
grenades from the Great War.
A recent gift from the widow of a lifelong collector has added greatly to the
world-class collection. Carl Hauber's widow, Wanda, searched for a year for a
place worthy of her husband's collection. She decided to donate it  to the WWI
Museum.  Included is a German reference album of color prints from just after
the war, with topographical views of Western Front battlefields.
Also, Liberty Memorial now has a Russian Sokolov wheel-mounted machine
gun, with the ammunition boxes and the shells it fired. A semi-truck was
needed to deliver the collection.

The WWI Museum in Kansas City is a great way to add
to homeschool study of World War I.  History scholars Sir John Keegan and Sir
Martin Gilbert have praised it's contents and accuracy. Books and military
collectibles are available at the Museum Store.

The Museum is open Tuesday through Sunday, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.
Located at 100 W. 26th Street, Kansas City, Missouri. For more information, visit

Update from the WWI Museum:

The special exhibition “Man and Machine: The German Soldier in World War I”
tells a tale that no American museum has ever told before – the story of the
Great War from the German viewpoint.

The exhibition opens September 3, 2010 at the National World War I Museum in
Kansas City , Missouri . It will be housed in Exhibit Hall, one of the two original
1926 buildings which flank the Liberty Memorial Tower . Access to the special
exhibition is included with admission to the National World War I Museum.

This new perspective – one that only ninety years after the war can provide –
will explore the machines of war and the men who used them. Visitors will see
the war through the eyes of the German soldier – his words, his technology,
and the actual objects used by him to fight and survive.
Nearly all of the objects and documents will be on display to the public for the
first time.

“This is a truly unique exhibition for this country. It explores this pivotal world
event from a total new perspective,” says Vice President of Museum Programs
Eli Paul. “Not only are you seeing the Great War through the eyes of those who
fought against America and its Allies, you are seeing how machines
transformed the war. When you look at this material you wonder who is in
control…the man or the machine.”

In 2009 during the conceptual development of this special exhibition an
extraordinary historical collection was donated to National World War I
Museum. The Carl H. Hauber donation holds the record as the largest number
of historical objects ever given by one donor in the Museum’s ninety-year
history. The private collection of 1,700 objects, collected with a discriminating
curatorial eye and almost encyclopedic in nature, essentially told the story of
the machine gun during WWI. A stunning addition to the most comprehensive
WWI collection in America, several of the historical objects from this donation
have been integrated into “Man and Machine” The exhibition serves as a
preview of this significant acquisition to the museum collections.

“I was thrilled to see the tremendous number of personal items that were part of
the donation from the Hauber family,” explains Curator Doran Cart. “It’s not just
weapons. Objects from the German home front, equally poignant, are included
in the exhibition. Surprisingly, the soldiers carried many personal items
throughout this intense conflict.”

Some of the most distinctive items included in the exhibition are:

* a Christmas cigar box that was given to soldiers with patriotic images of
Kaiser Wilhelm II on the lid
* a handmade calendar for 1918
* a stoneware schnapps bottle and glasses
* a pull toy of a machine gunner
* a small Imperial German flag which was silk-screened on wool
* a collar for a German service dog
* a paper sign from a trench that warned “do not use this route”

At the beginning of the war, the common German infantryman still retained
equipment and traditions from decades before. As the war progressed, many
innovative changes occurred in the German infantryman’s equipment and
uniform. Steel helmets replaced leather. Body armor, trench clubs, hand
grenades, knives for close combat, and even submachine guns were used on
the battlefield. Gas masks protected against the terror weapon of poison gas.

This exhibition is partially funded by the Kansas City , Missouri Neighborhood
Tourist Development Fund.
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