American feelings for neutrality. Throughout the exhibition, similar character presentations tell the personal stories of North Carolinians based on the oral history interviews of WWI veterans and their letters and diaries. Exhibit visitors also experience environmental settings, such as a re-created trench system, a field hos- pital, and a German machine-gun bunker. The end of the war is presented with a map show- ing the changing European national bound- aries, film characters, and photo murals and artifacts in a remembrance area. North Carolina and World War I opened in April 2017, and just over a year later, more than 389,000 visitors, including many students from fourth grade to college age, have toured the exhibition. Some visitors have come from as far away as Belgium, France, and Germany. Public response has been very positive. Many visitors are moved by their personal immersive experience in the exhibit, leaving with a greater understanding of the war’s destruction and lasting impact. Most seem to depart with a better appreciation of the service and sacrifice of our fellow citizens in 1918—and of their dreams for a peaceful world.
But 20 years later, fighting broke out again in Europe, igniting World War II. Ever since, warfare has been so rampant worldwide that it makes the dream for lasting peace of the WWI generation seem incompre- hensible today. To commemorate the centennial, the museum devel- oped a 6,500-square-foot exhibition to tell the North Carolina story in World War I. By highlighting bio- graphical stories, artifacts, historical photography and film, and character actors on film produced by the museum, the exhibit offers an engaging interac- tive experience for visitors. Innovative use of period actors on film presents the emotions of the Europeans driven to fight at the beginning of the war and the
North Carolina soldier film character.
Colonel Sidney W. Minor, 120th Infantry Regiment, 30th Division.
USS Zeelandia that transported 30th Division troops to France in 1918.
North Carolina congressman Walter Jones ( right ) and museum deputy director and exhibit curator Jackson Marshall ( left ) view trench diorama.
Medal issued by the city of Kinston to North Carolina soldiers.
Home front war medal with single star for a family member in military service.
World War I US Marine Corps dress blue uniform.
North Carolina nurse film character.
North Carolina nurses, Base Hospital 65, France, 1918.
Poppies symbolize the remembrance of the fallen soldiers of WWI.
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