Tuesday, July 15, 2014

TOP STORY >> Museums focus on World War I

The Lonoke County Museum and Cabot’s Museum of American History are seeking local artifacts from World War I to preserve and display in exhibits commemorating the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into the Great War in three years.

The museums hope to collect as much of this history as possible in the next few months to preserve it before it is lost forever. The staffs of the museums are asking that people who have diaries, letters, documents, photos or stories of relatives who served in the war and would like to share them with others to contact the museums.

The museums especially want items from Lonoke County soldiers, but all World War I items are sought.

“We are hoping that people will donate the original items to the museum,” said Mike Polston, director of the Museum of American History. “That way they can be cared for and preserved for future generations. If donation is not an option, the museum would like to preserve copies of the material.

“Diaries and letters would be transcribed and photos copied and returned to the original owners. The copies would then be preserved in the museum collections for future research,” he continued.

The items will be added to the museums’ First World War current exhibits as well as future ones.

It is hoped that several exhibits can be developed from the new materials collected. One proposed exhibit will concentrate on just Lonoke County. A photo exhibit will be developed on the role of Lonoke County in the war.

The exhibit will consist of photos of individual soldiers, Eberts Field in Lonoke, where pilots and air crew trained, and any other war activities conducted throughout the county.

Lonoke County Museum director Sherryl Miller, said, “We have not seen any photos of county patriotic activities, such as bond rallies or parades, but we are sure they must exist.”

Once completed, the photo exhibits will be displayed at each museum and perhaps at different locations around the county.

Polston said, “This is a countywide project and will only be successful if people throughout the county will share their family’s history with all of us. Don’t let history fade away into a memory. Become proactive and help preserve it.”

To contribute World War I memorabilia, call Polston at 501-286-9665 or Miller at 501-676-6750.