Centennial Commemoration of American Entry in WWI, Two Special Exhibitions & Sneak Preview of New PBS Documentary Highlight Upcoming Events at National World War I Museum and Memorial

The official United States event commemorating the centennial of American entry into World War I, the opening of a free, large-scale outdoor photographic exhibition and a preview screening and panel discussion featuring the new PBS American Experience miniseries The Great War are among the upcoming events at the National World War I Museum and Memorial.

A limited number of tickets remain available to the public for the April 6 ceremony “In Sacrifice for Liberty and Peace: Centennial Commemoration of the U.S. Entry into World War I,” which is produced by the U.S. World War I Centennial Commission. Tickets are available here. Tickets, which are free, are required to attend the event. Dignitaries from countries across the world will join thousands of guests at the Museum for the ceremony, which will be among the largest gatherings of foreign officials in Kansas City since the original ceremony to dedicate the Museum in 1926. 

 Opening Friday, March 31, the special centennial exhibition, Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: The Doughboys, 1917-1918, features the incredible contemporary photographs of Michael St Maur Sheil, depicting the battlefields of the Western Front where the Americans fought. This latest exhibition marks the entry of the U.S. into the war in 1917. Sheil’s previous exhibitions have been seen by more than five million people across the world. The Museum is hosting a free reception prior to a 6 p.m. program on March 31 featuring Sheil, Museum President and CEO Dr. Matthew Naylor and Museum Senior Curator Doran Cart. On SaturdaySunday, April 1-2, Sheil will provide complimentary public tours at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. where guests may join the award winning photojournalist and hear the stories behind the incredible contemporary photographs. An RSVP for the tours is required.

 Revolutions! 1917 is a special centennial exhibition opening Friday, April 7. The exhibition showcases the incredible events that occurred worldwide from America’s official entry into the war and Russia’s upheavals from an Imperial state to Bolshevik rule. The stalemated battles on the Western Front and in other theaters and troubles on the home fronts also led to societal changes, mutinies and revolts. The vast majority of items have never been on exhibit previously, while the exhibition also features items on loan from other institutions, including President Wilson’s original proclamation of war (National Archives) and articles of President Wilson’s clothing (The President Woodrow Wilson House).

 On Friday, April 7 at 6:30 p.m. American Experience, KCPT, and the Museum collaborate for an exclusive conversation and special sneak peek of the new PBS miniseries The Great War.  KCPT’s Randy Mason will explore this pivotal event in American history and how it transformed America with director Rob Rapley, historian Nancy Bristow, and authors Robert Laplander and Richard Rubin. The event is free with RSVP.

 Historian and New York Times bestselling author Andrew Carroll will discuss his latest book, My Fellow Soldiers: General John Pershing and the Americans Who Helped Win the Great War, at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 12 at the Museum. The book draws on a rich trove of both little-known and newly uncovered letters and diaries to create a vivid and moving account of the American experience in World War I. Tickets are $35 attheworldwar.org and include an autographed copy of Carroll’s book

 On Saturday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m. the Museum hosts But Who Shall Return Us Our Children? – A Kipling Passion in which composer John Muehleisen explores the costs of war from the point of view of the families left behind in a moving world premiere, scored for soprano, tenor, and bass soloists with choir and chamber orchestra. Tickets are $25 ($10 at the door for students) and are available at spirechamberensemble.org.

 In April, the Museum offers several family-friendly activities and programs. At 2 p.m. each Saturday, history is brought to life in the Hands-on History program in which kids of all ages are invited to handle Great War artifacts. On Sunday, April 9, the Living History Volunteer Corps will be on site to share stories of the Great War era and make history come to life with a focus on medical aspects of the war! At 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 15, the Museum’s Story Time program returns with a reading of One Boy’s War.

 Other events at the Museum during the month include a Film Friday screening of Sergeant York (Friday, April 14), complimentary Museum tours Thursdays at 2 p.m. and the Museum hosts special event radio station WW1USA for 31 consecutive hours from Saturday, April 29 at 10 a.m. throughSunday, April 30 at 5 p.m. 

 The National World War I Museum and Memorial holds the most diverse collection of World War I objects and documents in the world and is the second-oldest public museum dedicated to preserving the objects, history and personal experiences of the war.

April National World War I Museum and Memorial Events

  • Every Wednesday: World War Wednesdays (all tickets $8)
  • Every Thursday: Complimentary Tour, 2 p.m. (FREE with paid admission)
  • Every Saturday: Hands-on History, 2 p.m. (FREE)
  • Saturday, April 1: Mr. Wilson’s Knitting Circle, 10:30 a.m. (FREE with RSVP)
  • SaturdaySunday, April 1-2: Fields of Battle- Walking Tour, 11 a.m. & 1 p.m. (FREE with RSVP)
  • Thursday, April 6: Centennial Commemoration of U.S. Entry in WWI, 11 a.m. (RSVP required)
  • Friday, April 7: American Experience: The Great War, 6:30 p.m. (FREE with RSVP)
  • Sunday, April 9: Day in the Life: Medical, All Day (FREE)
  • Wednesday, April 12: My Fellow Soldiers, 7 p.m. (Admission $35, includes autographed book)
  • Friday, April 14: Film Friday: Sargent York, 6:30 p.m. (FREE with RSVP)
  • Saturday, April 15: Story Time: One Boy’s War, 11 a.m. (FREE with RSVP)
  • Tuesday, April 18: Pershing Lecture Series: Giant with Feet of Clay: The U.S. Army Enters WWI, 6:30 p.m. (FREE with RSVP)
  • SaturdaySunday, April 29-30: WW1USA Amateur Radio Station, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (FREE)
  • Saturday, April 29: But Who Shall Return Us Our Children? – A Kipling Passion, (Tickets $25, $10 for students)

National World War I Museum and Memorial