Iowa Gold Star Military Museum’s WWI Exhibits Recount Iowa’s Role in the War

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JOHNSTON, Iowa  --  Museums across the state are marking the upcoming anniversary of America's entry into World War I.

While the war took place a century ago, the conflict feels more recent for some families.

"In the public mind, World War I may not be that long ago, but for a lot of the visitors today it's only two generations, and for some visitors it may be one generation that they had a participant in that conflict," said Michael Vogt, curator at the Iowa Gold Star Military Museum.

Inside the museum at Camp Dodge, reenactors and exhibits walk visitors through Iowa's role in the war.

Over 114,000 Iowans took part in the fighting.

Saturday's program included a new feature at the museum: an exhibit focusing on life in the trenches. The artifacts and items on display have an integral role in preserving history.

"The last World War I veterans passed about a decade ago. So all that is left are their uniforms, their items, letters, diaries, their first person accounts," said Vogt. "So with the passing of that generation, those things become even more valuable to the casual visitor or the professional historian who wants to learn more about the war and Iowa's and the nation's participation in that conflict."

The State Historical Museum will also open a new exhibit dedicated to Iowa's role in WWI. The exhibit opens Thursday, April 6th, on the 100th anniversary of America joining the war.

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