March 5, 2014

The National WWI Museum at Liberty Memorial was dedicated in 1926 and has remained since then a memorial and museum for World War I.  In 2006 the museum was expanded to include an underground facility that is considerably larger than the original above-ground buildings on either side of the tower.  Exhibit Hall is on the west side and Memory Hall (closed during this visit) is on the right.

Perhaps the original museum (the one dedicated in 1926) presented the war extensively from the viewpoint of the American effort.  That's not so much the case now; this museum takes quite a wide view.  Naturally, it has much from the U.S. (as you would expect), but the museum does not minimize the events where the U.S. had no direct involvement.


The tower is quite prominent in Kansas City.

An enlargement of the details at the top of the tower.

It's lunchtime.  That's a Reuben sandwich with potato salad--pretty good.


The first time I visited the museum several years back, the Exhibit Hall contained the museum.  It was packed.  This building is now used for rotating exhibits.  Of course, entering 2014, every month will be the hundredth anniversary of some important event.  It'll be interesting to see how the museum decides which to commemorate with special exhibits through 2018.

Exhibit: The Road to War

View the inaugural Centennial special exhibition exploring the pivotal world events that led to World War I. The Road to War explores European colonialism, American imperialism, the Balkans Wars, the rise of nationalism and cultural awareness, and the social divides which led to unrest and revolt against the imperial monarchies.  Located in Exhibit Hall.

Judging only by the uniforms before the entry into the war, the armies were still in the nineteenth century.  This would all change pretty quickly.


The National World War I Museum is below the tower.  The glass-floor entry covers a field of poppies.  It's effective, but I'd imagine causes some imbalance for some people walking over the glass.

Their collection of field artillery is impressive... is their collection of posters, which are likely all quite fragile considering the speed that they were created and printed by the thousands.


These are the rifles and side-arms used by the combatants for each country at the beginning of the war (therefore, the US is not represented).



Full uniforms and related equipment for each soldier for most (if not all) of the countries involved.


The technology of machine guns advanced at a very rapid pace.


Grenades, bayonets and still more grenades.


"Quiet rooms" are set aside to listen to remembrances.  There is a large diorama that includes a projected film.


This impressed me.  Stacks of unissued equipment intended for U.S. soldiers.




They have lots of smaller details; the sorts of things that might otherwise have been lost.  That's a soldier's field sewing kit on the right.



Were they called dog-tags during this war?  I'm not sure.  In any case, each soldier wore two of these aluminum discs.



A very well done graphic.  On the right side of the vertical lines are the number of German soldiers.  On the left side are the French and U.K. soldiers.  In red are the American soldiers that shifted the balance enormously.  Germany had planned an offensive to overcome the allies before the Americans arrived; but were (obviously) not successful.  On the right are some of the illustrated envelopes between soldiers and their families back home--no point letting all that space go to waste.



last edit: 3/6/2014