The Arkansas State Archives is opening a new exhibit, "On the Fields and in the Trenches: Relics of the First World War," which features World War I artifacts held in the State Archives museum collection, Department of Arkansas Heritage Director Stacy Hurst announced.
The collection includes weaponry, medical equipment, medals, photographs, a uniform and a variety of military helmets from several countries.
“This exhibit commemorates the 100th anniversary of the United States entry into World War I,” says Archives Director Dr. Lisa K. Speer. “Over 71,000 Arkansans served in the military during the ‘Great War’,” Speer noted, “and this exhibit provides a glimpse into the carnage and brutality of the war experienced by soldiers, medics and nurses on both sides of the conflict.”
Speer serves as a member of the Arkansas World War I Centennial Commemoration Committee, and the State Archives is among a number of museums that will host World War I exhibits in 2017. The Arkansas State Archives has a large collection of artifacts related to the First World War acquired in the early decades of the twentieth century for a Great War Museum at the Arkansas State Capitol. Many of these artifacts were picked up off the battlefields by Louis C. Gulley, an Arkansan working as a postmaster for the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe during the war.
The Arkansas State Archives is an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage and is responsible for collecting and maintaining the largest collection of historical materials on Arkansas in the world. The State Archives has two branch locations; the Northeast Arkansas Regional Archives is located in Powhatan and the Southwest Arkansas Regional Archives is located in Washington.
Other agencies of the Department of Arkansas Heritage include the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program, the Arkansas Arts Council, the Delta Cultural Center in Helena, the Old State House Museum, the Arkansas Natural Heritage Commission, the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, and the Historic Arkansas Museum.