Review: North Carolina & World War I, NC Museum of History


I went home to North Carolina for President's Day weekend and luckily saw something on social media that reminded me that the North Carolina Museum of History currently has an exhibit on World War I. So when my family was brainstorming something to do on Sunday afternoon, of course I suggested heading down to the museum which I actually hadn't been to since I was in high school. (My sixteenth birthday party actually involved going to an exhibit there before going out to dinner. Yes, I was that big of a history nerd even then.)


The exhibit, called "North Carolina & World War I," is full of artifacts and information related to North Carolinians who were involved in the First World War. They have everything from medals to uniforms to posters to pieces of shells.  My favorite part was how they had bits where they'd set up artifacts with information about and photos of the North Carolinian they belonged to.


The best thing about this exhibit though is that much of it is housed within 'trenches' which are able to both guide the visitor through the exhibit and give a small idea of what it must have been like to be a soldier in the war. Obviously, they're a very sanitized cleaned-up version of trenches (although do keep an eye out for the stuffed rats!), but they really contribute to the atmosphere. And yes, make for some cool photo ops.

I do sort of wish they'd had some mock uniform jacket for people to try on, but I think I'm still a bit spoiled from well-funded London museums.


This exhibit gave an interesting glimpse into the North Carolinian experience of World War I. Obviously, it is only a brief overview into the war itself but one of the great things about it is that it keeps its focus fairly narrow which sets it apart from other large scale World War I exhibits I've seen that take a more nuanced look at the war itself. I learned a lot about the people of my home state, many of whom volunteered to go fight in the war even before the US was officially a part of it.


This exhibit is on at the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh through Memorial Day 2019. So definitely be sure to go and see it while you can if you are in the Raleigh area in the next few months. The exhibit, like the rest of the museum, is free and open to the public. For more information, be sure to check out the museum's website.

All photos were taken by me with my iPhone XR. 

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