By Sarrah Peters
Every year around Veterans Day, the Gadsden Museum of Art hosts an exhibit that features items from various wars the United States has been involved in as well as highlighting local contributions to the wars. This year the museum will feature World War I artifacts in an exhibit that will last from November 2 until December 19.
“This year is actually the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, so that is why we are doing WWI this year,” said GMA Exhibits Coordinator Blake Dodgen.
The Gadsden Museum of Art plans for the exhibit to be open during the Veterans Parade on November 7. Dodgen said that the Patriots Association President John Graham is a “big supporter” of the museum and helps the museum organize the exhibit.
Dodgen said that the museum has some WWI memorabilia in storage, including some canteens, a gas mask, some photos, a few medals and possibly a uniform. However, the museum does not have enough materials to build an entire exhibit for WWI on its own. That’s why the museum is asking the community for their help.
“We have a couple of different avenues we take to find some things, and then we have some things in our archives, but that’s not enough for a whole show,” said Dodgen.
The Gadsden Museum of Art is appealing to local citizens to loan any World War I material for the exhibit. The museum will accept donations of any artifacts related to World War I on a national or local level (like from the Rainbow Division), including uniforms, photographs, medals, and even paperwork to enlist. Dodgen said that weapons may be loaned, pending further approval.
“It’s mostly going to be families that have held on to these artifacts,” said Dodgen. “It’s harder to find than World War II or Vietnam artifacts.”
World War I items are harder to locate because it has been so long since the war occured. Anyone alive at the end of WWI would be at least 100 years old.
The deadline for loaning items for the WWI exhibit is October 5, so that museum staff can arrange the items in the exhibit.
Depending on what the museum receives for donations, the exhibit may highlight certain items.
“Once we know what we have, like if we get a whole bunch of uniforms, then we will focus on that,” said Dodgen. “The main thing is going to be a timeline history.”
Thanks to the efforts of GMA’s Education Coordinator, Etowah County Schools’ students will contribute to the exhibit. The students will complete art projects that will be featured in the exhibit.
To donate items, call 256-546-7365, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or come by the museum. The Gadsden Museum of Art is open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday. The museum is closed on Sunday and Monday. On First Friday, the museum remains open until 7 p.m.
For more information, visit the Gadsden Museum of Art facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/gadsdenmuseum or the website at https://gadsdenmuseum.com.