2-Year Project Completes WWI Exhibit

About 60 teachers, students and community members came together at St. Helena High School and honored World War I veterans with a historical exhibit. The exhibit holds the title “WWI Research Institute.”

The Napa Valley Register reported on the exceptional story. The exhibit is not to be taken lightly. It took two and half years to complete and includes some remarkable artifacts: diaries, interviews and a copy of the WWI trench. The organizers of the exhibit interviewed 107-year-old WWI veteran Frank Buckles; he is the only surviving veteran of the war.

Students along with their teachers and fellow citizens took trips across the country to gather information. They collected what they called “Untold Stories” and post those stories on their website.

The institute also has a multimedia studio where WWI descendants record their remembrances. Many of the WWI veterans may have passed on, but they left stories and legacies with their families. The studio is an excellent way to keep the deeds of the veterans alive.

The exhibit also includes a museum, an ongoing collection of artifacts and information. Many of the photographs, diaries, medals, letters and flags sit in glass display cases.  Most of the artifacts came from descendants of veterans as a loan or donation.

The whole exhibit in itself is a long-awaited memorial. The students and teachers challenge visitors and officials in Washington D.C. to follow suit.

“We note that ninety-two years after the end of WWI, there is still no memorial in Washington, D.C., to the nearly five million American men and women who served–and the 116,000 Americans who died–in that war,” the WWI Research Institute website states. “We not only hope to raise public awareness about ‘the forgotten war,’ but public awareness about ‘a forgotten memorial’.”

The website is still in progress. However, the institute will soon be accessible to people who cannot see the displays physically. The interviews, documentaries and “untold stories” that took long-term dedication and determination from a group of people at St. Helena High School will go on the website.

Read the full Napa Valley Register article here.

Photo thanks to US Army Korea – IMCOM under creative common license on Flickr.

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