Centennial Commemoration


During the centennial of the Great War (1914-19), the National World War I Museum and Memorial will host a series of special exhibitions, programs and events to commemorate the first global war in history. Highlights of the Museum's offerings are below. Visit the Museum's Upcoming Events page for specific programs.




They Shall Not Pass | 1916

Special Exhibition: May 6, 2016 – March 12, 2017

Mud and mayhem, death and destruction, staggering unnecessary losses. All aptly describe the two pivotal battles of 1916, the Somme and Verdun. The attack by British and French forces was meant to break the Western Front stalemate. It did not. This exhibition sheds light on the personal side of the conflict. Learn more.



The Volunteers: Americans Join World War I, 1914-1919

Special Exhibition: April 5 - Oct. 2, 2016

American volunteer organizations contributed immensely to the well-being and welfare of the American men and women serving the American military in WWI, but also to peoples in the war-torn countries around the globe. Learn more.



Images of the Great War: European Offensives 1914-1916

Special Exhibition: March 29 - Oct. 9, 2016

World War I brought radical changes in society, art and culture. The exhibition focuses on the art and events of the first two years of the Great War featuring artists from eight different countries. Learn more.



Make Way for Democracy!

Special Online Exhibition 

Created in partnership with the Google Cultural Institute, Make Way for Democracy! portrays the lives of African Americans during the war through a series of rare images, documents and objects. Learn more



Rearranging History: Daniel MacMorris and the Panthéon de la Guerre

Special Exhibition: Dec. 15, 2015 - March 27, 2016

What happened to the world's largest painting? The exhibition explores the vast fragments of the Panthéon de la Guerre left behind by Daniel MacMorris – the majority having never been seen in public since the Panthéon's last showing in its entirety in 1940. Learn more



Global War, 1915 | Empires at War, Churchill’s Gallipoli and an America Divided

Symposium: Nov. 6-7, 2015

Explore the rising tensions in America and the globally escalating conflict that defined the world in 1915. Follow the trajectories of different countries around the world as the conflict escalated to total war, including fighting in the colonies and East Asia, stalemate in the West, Churchill’s disaster at Gallipoli, mobilization at home, and the polarization of American society around the issue of war. Learn more



The Second Battlefield: Nurses in the First World War

Special Exhibition: Nov. 3, 2015 - March 6, 2016

This exhibition of predominantly French WWI artwork aligns with the quasi-myths of wartime nursing as described by author Christine Hallett: the courageous voluntary aid detachment, the romantic nurse and the “nurse-as-heroine.” Learn more



The World Remembers

Special Display: Oct. 6 - Nov. 11, 2015

More than 9 million combatants from the belligerent nations died in World War I, the largest number of any conflict in world history to that time. The World Remembers is an international education project whose purpose is to remember and honor these combatants who perished, for each year of the war, by displaying their names in more than 100 locations throughout Europe and North America, for a period of weeks ending with the Western Front Armistice Day of Nov. 11. For 1915, names from 12 nations are represented. Accompanying the names are images of soldiers and civilians caught up in a global conflict. The Museum is serving as the only location for the display in the United States. Learn more



A Centenary of Australian War Art

Special Exhibition: July 17 - Dec. 6, 2015

The most comprehensive collection of Australian war art ever seen outside of Australia consists of artworks from the Australian War Memorial depicting Australian military experience from the First World War to Afghanistan. The exhibition features Australia’s best known war artists, including George Lambert and Arthur Streeton, and the works highlight the crucial role Australians played in some of the most defining moments in modern history. Learn more



Sand to Snow

Special Exhibition: May 1, 2015 - April 10, 2016

The year 1915 was pivotal in terms of the world-wide involvement in the war. World War I was the first truly global war starting in Europe, then spreading to Africa, Asia and the Near East. The European powers mobilized their colonies and commonwealths around the world. Soldiers and laborers from Southeast Asia, India, Africa and the Caribbean were sent to Europe and the Near East to fight. Learn more



Drawn to War

Special Exhibition: March 24 - Oct. 18, 2015

Dutch artist Louis Raemaekers, described as the “supreme cartoonist of the war,” used his pencils as a weapon to create powerful impressions characterizing and criticizing the nature and legacy of war. Learn more



The Christmas Truce, Winter 1914

Special Online Exhibition

On Christmas Eve of 1914, along parts of the Western and Eastern fronts in Europe, a spontaneous truce was declared among the weary, entrenched combatants of World War I. Was this a miracle? Was it a myth? Explore these questions and declare your own truce on social media through The Christmas Truce, Winter 1914. Learn more.



War & Art

Special Exhibition: Nov. 18, 2014 - Feb. 22, 2015

World War I coincides with the popularization of portable cameras and the simplification of procedures related to the development and printing. It was no longer necessary to be a professional. These cameras were less bulky, simple and relatively inexpensive. This exhibition, curated by the Instituto Per La Storia Del Risoorgimento Italiana, Roma, records Italian servicemen’s personal visions of the conflict, their war and their diary of the past days in uniform in the trenches. Learn more



1914: Global War and American Neutrality

Symposium: Nov. 7-8, 2014

Examine the origins of, reactions to and early confrontations in the First World War including the political, diplomatic, military, cultural and scientific developments prior to the war that contributed to its outbreak. Learn more



Letters & Artworks From War

Special Exhibition: Oct. 28, 2014 - March 8, 2015 

Writer and artist Raymond Fontanet, known as Renefer (1876-1957), was mobilized to serve in the French military in 1914 and, throughout the war, always carried pencils and a sketchbook in his hands. Learn more



Home Before the Leaves Fall

Special Online Exhibition

Home Before the Leaves Fall explores the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the July Crisis and the opening months of the Great War through an examination of images, objects, video and audio recordings via the Google Cultural Institute. Learn more



Over By Christmas

Special Exhibition: May 3, 2014 - April 12, 2015

Many thought World War I would be over in days, surely by Christmas. To many, Christmas was a time of peace and goodwill towards others, the Celebration of the Prince of Peace. Each cause was just. God was on their side, but the war was not over by Christmas. Learn more



Art of War: Political Humor

Special Exhibition: April 29 - Oct. 19, 2014

“During The Big Brawl: Humorous Imaginings” (“La Grande Bagarre: Fantaisies Humoristiques”) is a collection of political cartoons created by Gustave A. Wendt between 1915 and 1916. The illustrations are done in pencil, watercolor, India ink, gouache and some colored inks. Learn more



War Fare

Special Online Exhibition

The National World War I Museum and Memorial addresses an often overlooked aspect of the war: food. In addition to reviewing the effects of food on World War I, War Fare: From the Homefront to the Frontlines includes photographs, comments and even delicious vintage recipes updated for the modern era. Learn more



On The Brink

Special Exhibition: March 15 - Nov. 9, 2014

A hungry teenage assassin and a wrong turn forever changed the world. View the special exhibition examining the underground organizations, diplomatic communications and international newspaper reporting of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and its political aftershock. Learn more



U.S. Centennial Commission Meeting & Public Programs 

Sunday, July 27, 2014
National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.


8:30 a.m. - U.S. Centennial Commission Meeting (open to the public): Board Conference Room

11 a.m. - One Century Later Panel Discussion: J.C. Nichols Auditorium 

One Century Later is a panel discussion in partnership with the World War One Centennial Commission that examines the impact of World War I on present day society a hundred years after the start of the Great War. Join historians Dr. Mitch Yockelson, Dr. Graydon Tunstall and Dr. Chad Williams for a intriguing conversation moderated by veteran journalist and Network News Correspondent Barbara Pinto. Included with Museum admission and free for members.

1 p.m. - Germany and the Outbreak of WWI Reconsidered: J.C. Nichols Auditorium  

On its 100th anniversary, join us for an animated and intellectual examination of the outbreak of war led by Dr. Michael Epkenhans, professor and Director of Historical Research at the Centre for Military History and Social Sciences of the German Armed Forces at Potsdam. Included with Museum admission and free for members.




Franz Ferdinand Assassination Commemoration 

Two shots fired outside a delicatessen in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914 forever changed the world. The assassination of Austro-Hungarian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, placed the world on the brink and prompted a series of events resulting in the outbreak of World War I. The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial commemorates the 100th anniversary of the assassination with several public programs and a free public ceremony on Saturday, June 28. The Museum will extend its hours from 10 a.m. until 8:30 p.m.

Summary of June 28, 2014 Events:
When: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday, June 28 through Sunday, June 29
Where:  Southeast Lawn of the National World War I Museum 
What:  The National World War I Museum, in partnership with amateur radio, will host special event station WW1USA from the grounds of the Liberty Memorial. Broadcasting for 31 consecutive hours, station operators will contact hundreds of other amateur radio operators across the world. Individuals are welcome to serve as a guest operator of WW1USA at any time during regular Museum hours with all guests receiving a special amateur radio operator certificate. Free to the public
When: 9:30 a.m. (start), 10 a.m. (open to public), Saturday, June 28
Where: West Lobby Space of the National World War I Museum 
What: The event that unleashed World War I and forever shaped history will unfold through 140-character tweets in an elaborate e-reenactment featuring more than 25 historical figures and multiple languages. Students, staff and faculty at the University of Kansas, as well as local community members, have taken on the Twitter personas of significant and minor participants in the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, which occurred in Sarajevo on June 28, 1914. Free to the public
That Fateful Day June 28, 1914 
When: 11a.m. – 1 p.m., Saturday, June 28
Where: South Mall of the National World War I Museum
What: The Museum’s South Mall represents an approximation of the Archduke’s parade route taken on June 28, 1914.  Individuals representing the seven assassins are stationed along the Museum’s south mall to share details of what transpired in Sarajevo in this free self-guided tour that also includes a vintage 1910 Maytag-Mason automobile. Free to the public
Commemoration Ceremony 
When: 2-3 p.m., Saturday, June 28
Where: Due to weather, the Ceremony has been moved indoors to the J.C. Nichols Auditorium at the Museum.
What: A formal, free public program to include:  
  • Keynote address from former U.S. Ambassador to Bosnia-Herzegovina Dr. John Menzies
  • Performances from the Kansas City Symphony String Quartet
  • Moving recollection of stories from the era performed by award-winning actor John Rensenhouse
Recent Acquisition Display & Discussion: 1910 Belgian Automatic Pistol
When: 3-4 p.m.
Where: Paul Sunderland Glass Bridge
What: National World War I Museum Senior Curator Doran Cart showcases and discusses a recent acquisition: a Model 1910 Belgian Automatic Pistol. Four Model 1910 pistols were purchased in a Belgrade, Serbia arms store and then delivered to the Archduke Franz Ferdinand assassination conspirators. The pistol on display is similar to the pistol used by Gavrilo Princip to assassinate the Archduke and his wife on June 28, 1914. 


Parking & Shuttle Service

Free parking and shuttle services are available on June 28 from the Crown Center parking lot at Grand & 27th Streets from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Due to street closures, guests will need to use either Main Street or Wyandotte Street to access the Museum parking lots. 




An International Centennial Planning Conference - March 22-24, 2013
National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.


The National World War I Museum hosted an international WWI Centennial planning conference during March 22-24, 2013, whose purpose was for participants to present and discuss plans for observing and commemorating the War’s centennial and network ideas at institutional and personal levels.  Eight countries were represented by featured speakers, panelists and attendees including Great Britain, France, Germany, Belgium (Flanders), Canada, Turkey, Slovakia and Japan. 

The conference’s agenda included panels that covered a variety of subjects from the idea of making WWI battlefields UNESCO World Heritage sites, to the effort to digitize its historical records to interpreting the conflict through the visual and performing arts.  Four prominent WWI scholars were the conference’s featured speakers, presenting topics that ranged from the origins of the War, to its Eastern Front campaigns, to the effects of the conflict on an occupied nation, to how the War can be interpreted and memorialized by art.  To view photos from the event, visit our Flickr.


Thank you to the Government of Flanders (Belgium), Department of Foreign Affairs – Flanders House New York for partnering as a Lead Sponsor for this event.

Additionally, we thank our other sponsors including:

The Western Front Association
AFS Intercultural Programs
Cyprienne Simchowitz, Attorney at Law & Jerry White
Barton Hacker & Margaret Vining
Cyprienne Simchowitz, President Alliance Française de Kansas City
Order of the First World War
Crile Archives Center for History Education
Strasburg Rail Road