A very special exhibit is about to open at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh, N.C., running April 8, 2017-Jan. 6, 2019: North Carolina and World War I

This interactive multimedia exhibit will commemorate the centennial of the U.S.'s entry into World War I and will focus on N.C.'s role in the War to End All Wars on the Western Front in France and Belgium. You'll experience a re-created trench warfare environment to discover what life was like for Tar Heel soldiers.

The 6,500-square-foot exhibition will highlight approximately 500 artifacts, period photography, a trench diorama, historical film footage, educational interactive components and video re-enactments that feature European and N.C. soldiers and citizens to relate the stories of ordinary men and women from N.C. who provided extraordinary service to their country 100 years ago.


World War I Centennial Commemoration

On Sat., April 8, a World War I Centennial Commemoration will take place in downtown Raleigh, the day the exhibit opens.

The day will begin with a solemn wreath-laying ceremony at the World War I section of the N.C. Veterans Memorial on the North Carolina State Capitol grounds with the N.C. National Guard, World War I reenactors and attending dignitaries.

Afterward, a ribbon cutting will officially open the North Carolina and World War I exhibit. The day will feature a range of free family-oriented activities including: 

  • A bagpiper dressed in World War I regalia, performing at the opening of the exhibit.
  • The N.C. National Guard will be bringing two vehicles: a heavily armored Humvee and a five-ton cargo truck. They will be parked along Edenton St.
  • A mobile museum, the "History Machine," from the N.C. National Guard Museum.
  • A film screening of historian and filmmaker Marc McClure's documentary, "Valor," about the life of North Carolinian Kiffin Rockwell at noon and 2pm.
  • Sixteen costumed reenactors.
  • The screening of clips from the Museum's own video series "585 Days, if You're Lucky" will be at 11:30am, 1:30pm and 3:30pm. These clips (based on primary sources) share firsthand stories from the trenches, hospitals, and homes of those troubled times
  • A book signing by Research Historian Jessica Bandel of her new book, "North Carolina and the Great War, 1914-1918" from noon-2pm.
  • A local knitting group knitting examples of "Knit for Sammie!", items that were promoted by the American Red Cross during World War I.
  • Eight organization tables and two craft tables.

North Carolina and World War I is part of a statewide initiative by the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

Trench photo courtesy of the North Carolina Museum of History.