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Wednesday, August 24, 2022

WWI Remembered With Traveling Exhibit

This Red Cross advertisement from the St. Mary’s Beacon, Dec. 12, 1918, is a detail from a panel display created by the Southern Maryland Studies Center to celebrate the region’s participation in World War I. The four-panel display is available for loan to organizations in the region.

Chautauqua Focuses on 1917 Figures

It’s been 100 years since the United States entered World War I, and the Southern Maryland Studies Center is taking the chance to honor the sacrifices of local soldiers who have risked their lives, as well as remember the WWI impact on this region. Anna Kephart, the SMSC coordinator at the College of Southern Maryland La Plata Campus, worked alongside student assistant Shray Spriggs and volunteer Anita Gordon to create a World War I traveling exhibit for Southern Maryland.

The exhibit comprises four panels of information about what the region was like during the World War I years (1917-1919) and local residents who supported the war effort either at home or in the military.

“While working on this project, it was very moving to learn about Southern Marylanders’ contributions, patriotism, and sacrifices,” Ms. Kephart said. “We have made an effort to highlight these unique and personal stories as much as possible. I believe that by viewing the exhibit, people will gain a greater appreciation for how the war impacted people’s lives, and how involved our region’s citizens were in supporting the war effort. We can honor the sacrifices that our citizens made 100 years ago and explore what the region was like during the time period.”

The exhibit is designed to educate viewers on local citizens who served in the war, noting various roles in which they served. The researchers gathered information from local newspapers such as the Times-Crescent, the St. Mary’s Beacon, and more local publications.

The SMSC exhibit will be moved to different facilities and organizations and is on display now at the Maryland Veterans Museum at Patriot Park in Newburg. The museum is at 11000 Crain Highway and is open daily from 11 am to 4 pm.

Forty-four Southern Maryland residents were killed while fighting in the war. There were 1,426 residents serving in the military.

More residents were making efforts on the home front to support the war, and they also are honored in the exhibit.

Chautauqua Focuses on WWI

This year’s Chautauqua series also focuses on World War I. The series is hosted at CSM with Maryland Humanities and sponsored in part by Old Line Bank. The SMSC WWI panels will be on display at all three events, July 11-13.

Three key figures of 1917 will be portrayed at the outdoor events — Gen. John Pershing on July 11, W.E.B. Du Bois on July 12 and President Woodrow Wilson on July 13. The Chautauqua series will be presented at CSM on the La Plata Campus Fine Arts Center (FA Building) lawn starting at 6:45 each night.

Bring a lawn chair or blanket as well as food or beverages (no alcohol permitted). If it rains, performances will be indoors at the Fine Arts Center. Each evening will open with music, followed by presentations by the Chautauquans with an opportunity for questions and answers.

For information on Chautauqua, visit the Maryland Humanities website.

For more on the CSM Chautauqua presentation, visit CSM’s website.

Organizations that would like to display SMSC’s WWI exhibit can contact the Southern Maryland Studies Center at [email protected] or 301-934-7606. Use of the exhibit is free for any organization, school or library.

For more about the College of Southern Maryland, visit its Leader member page.

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