North Carolina Museum of History Commemorates WWI Centennial with All-Day Event and Groundbreaking Exhibit

North Carolina Museum of History

One hundred years have passed since U.S. soldiers heeded the call to battle and entered World War I. North Carolina sent 85,457 soldiers to battle, and thousands more served in their own ways at home. To mark this centennial and honor that legacy of bravery and sacrifice, the North Carolina Museum of History will host a special commemoration day and open a lasting exhibit.

On Saturday, April 8th, 2017, the FREE, day-long commemoration event to mark U.S. entry into World War I will also celebrate the opening of a unique new museum exhibit, North Carolina and World War I.

Family-oriented events planned for the day feature:

  • A wreath-laying ceremony with Governor Roy Cooper, N.C. dignitaries and military representatives,
  • An armored Humvee and a five-ton cargo truck from the N.C. National Guard,
  • A bagpiper in WWI regalia,
  • Costumed WWI soldier reenactors,
  • A mobile museum from the N.C. National Guard Museum,
  • Film screenings,
  • Hands-on activities and crafts,
  • Aand much, much more.

Saturday, April 8 at 10 a.m., Governor Roy Cooper will preside over a wreath-laying ceremony with members of the North Carolina National Guard and other dignitaries at the WWI section of the North Carolina Veterans Memorial on the grounds of the State Capitol building in Raleigh.

"I am glad to be part of this special ceremony to remember the remarkable North Carolinians who answered the call to serve their country 100 years ago," said Governor Roy Cooper. "It is a privilege to have this opportunity to honor their valor and sacrifice."

Members of the North Carolina National Guard Band and WWI reenactors and will also participate in this solemn service. The public is welcome to pay their respects at this time.

Attendees will then cross Edenton Street to the North Carolina Museum of History to the melodies of a bagpiper in WWI regalia. Dignitaries will cut a ribbon to officially open the groundbreaking new exhibit North Carolina and World War One.

The exhibit is believed to be the largest of its kind among state history museums! Visitors will be immersed in a life-sized replica trench environment, with a maze of seven-foot-high walls spread over much of the exhibit's 6,500 square feet. Hundreds of sandbags line the "earthen" trench, from one illuminated case to the next, and interactive videos and film footage "periscopes" dot the way. A re-created field hospital, wall-sized photo murals, historical film footage, and more than 500 artifacts will also immerse visitors into the lives and some of the experiences of Tar Heel soldiers. Heart-pounding battlefield sounds and lights complete the scene.

Are you ready to be a part of history? Then join us for this historic day! Step into the last century and experience life on the war's western front. The event and exhibit are both FREE to the public.

North Carolina and World War I is part of a statewide initiative spearheaded by the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. Major supporters of the exhibit are the N.C. Museum of History Foundation and the N.C. Museum of History Associates. Commemorative events are presented, in part, with the American Red Cross, the Great War Tar Heels, the N.C. National Guard, the State Archives of North Carolina, UNC-TV and the N.C. Museum of History Associates.

About the N.C. Museum of History, a Smithsonian Affiliate

The N.C. Museum of History is located at 5 E. Edenton Street in downtown Raleigh. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday, noon to 5 p.m. The museum collects and preserves artifacts of North Carolina history and educates the public on the history of the state and the nation through exhibits and educational programs. Each year more than 400,000 people visit the museum to see some of the 150,000 artifacts in the museum collection. The Museum of History, within the Division of State History Museums, is part of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.

About the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call 919-807-7300 or visit


  • North Carolina Museum of History
  • 5 E. Edenton Street
  • Raleigh, NC 27601


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