The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum will open its new World War I Exhibit, “World War I: The ‘Doughboy’ War” at a ceremony on Thursday, March 11, at 4:00 p.m. in the Education Parlor of the Dolores Lescure Center. At the ceremony, President and CEO Don Wilson will discuss the exhibit, World War I author Dr. Edward Lengel will highlight the significance of World War I, and Judd Bankert--portraying President Wilson--will deliver excerpts of the President’s remarks about the war. Trustees, Associate Trustees, elected officials, and those who donated artifacts to the exhibit are among those invited to the event. After the ceremony, guests will tour the exhibit, followed by a reception.
The exhibit is a fully immersive state-of-the-art experience that takes visitors to the battlefront during the First World War. It includes a trench, a bunker, a command center, a triage area, lighting, sound effects, and photographs. The exhibit was designed by Riggs Ward of Richmond with panels written by local author William Walker, who also donated a World War I pistol to the exhibit. Dr. Wilson and Curator Jarod Kearney also gathered artifacts from the National World War I Museum in Kansas City, the Marshall Foundation in Lexington, and local collectors Jim Huggins and Eleanor Albers.
Members of the press may preview the exhibit before the ceremony, between 3:30 and 4:00 p.m. Beginning Friday, March 12, the World War I exhibit will be included in the Presidential Library’s visitor experience at the regular admission price. Later this spring, the Presidential Library will host a Grand Opening event to which the public will be invited.
A noted military historian and editor of the papers of President George Washington at the University of Virginia, Dr. Edward Lengel is the author of To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne 1918, an award-winning book on the Meuse-Argonne Offensive, the last battle of World War I. This battle involved 1.2 million American soldiers and still stands as the nation’s largest battle. The book won a major award from the Western Front Association, a group that sponsors interest in the war that shaped 20th-century America.
Judd Bankert portrays President Wilson for the Presidential Library. Most recently, he delivered parts of the President’s Armistice Day address at a Veterans Day ceremony in November and took questions from seventh-graders portraying reporters at a mock Presidential press conference before hundreds of students at Beverley Manor Middle School in February. At the exhibit opening ceremony, he will deliver excerpts of President Wilson’s speech to Congress on April 2, 1917, asking for a declaration of war.
Anyone who has questions about the exhibit or this ceremony should contact Jarod Kearney, Curator, at (540) 885-0897, ext. 111, or at email@example.com.