Sand to Snow: Global War 1915

May 1, 2015 - April 17, 2016, Exhibit Hall

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. Particularly, the British Commonwealth nations of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa made a decisive impact.

Sand to Snow: Global War 1915 illustrates the convergence of diverse military, political, economic and social forces of the combatant nations and neutral countries. The faces, actions, voices and objects of the people, often from an individual viewpoint, serve as our guides. Their contributions and sacrifices are the central themes. 

The exhibition showcases objects and documents from more than 20 countries across the world – the most encompassing special exhibition in the Museum’s history – including Bulgaria, The Netherlands, Russia, Switzerland, Australia, India, Germany, Montenegro, Poland and the United States. The vast majority of items are on exhibition for the first time at the Museum. 

The diversion of European factories to war production disrupted the entire world economy. To fight a global war the combatant nations incurred enormous debts to produce the weapons, ammunition and equipment necessary. Soldiers and sailors fighting across the globe required uniforms, supplies and food.

The United States remained politically neutral, not wanting to be drawn into a European war, but sold war material to both the Allies and Central Powers.

Open from May 1, 2015 through April 17, 2016 in Exhibit Hall, Sand to Snow: Global War 1915 is the latest in the Museum's series of exhibitions commemorating the World War I Centennial.

  • The unique Indian knee-length khaki cotton tunic known as a kurta has five button front closure and two pleated patch pockets with Commonwealth general service buttons, Corporal rank chevrons and Bugler insignias on the sleeves, "41L" unit shoulder titles on the epaulettes, and a medal trio ribbon bar including 1914-15 Star, War Medal, and Victory Medal.

  • Ottoman Empire (Turkish) Infantry rank insignia shoulder board for a Major.

  • Australian/New Zealand cribbage board and writing utensil box from Suvla Bay Gallipoli, Aug. 6, 1915. Note that the maker misspelled Suvla.

  • Souvenir paperweight for RMS Lusitania. Even before the sinking of the RMS Lusitania, a Cunard Liner, it was popular among the culture at the time.

  • The Australian service dress jacket was made of Australian wool and its loose fit, in contrast to the British service, gave the wearer more allowance for movement.

  • Folding deck chair from the RMS Lusitania prior to the fateful day in May 1915.

  • The cavalry known as the Ulan in the Austro-Hungarian Army, the K.u.K. – Kaiserlich und Königlich, wore distinctive uniforms for the service branch.

  • Turkish flag

  • This Imperial German M1915 "gummi" gas mask made its first appearance on the line in the fall of 1915. It is made of rubberized fabric with two celluloid eyepieces and a screw-off replaceable filter.

  • This Austro-Hungarian shako was worn by an officer who served in Italy as shown by the Isonzo-Armee 1915 badge. Other badges include an attack soldier badge and a machine gun unit badge.