Left image: detail from a painting of a woman dressed in flowing classical robes reaching towards the viewer with white stone cross grave markers stretching away into the distance. Right image: Black and white photograph of a sunrise in a cloudy sky. Text: '2023 Symposium / Oct. 27-28 / Milestones & Cornerstones'

Milestones & Cornerstones

Friday, Oct. 27 – Saturday, Oct. 28


A year of milestones – from the founding of the American Battle Monuments Commission to the construction of the Liberty Memorial – 1923 ushered in a new era of military commemoration in the wake of WWI. Remembrance became less about victory and more about peace: monuments and cemeteries, enshrining the memory of those who served and sacrificed, were built not as trophies of the past but as touchstones for the future.

Even a century later, these sites stand – amid the horror and disillusionment of war – as sentinels of hope. Join us as we commemorate the war with engaging conversations on military actions, the people who served, and the ways we remember them.

In partnership with the American Battle Monuments Commission, the League of WWI Aviation Historians, the World War 1 Historical Association and the Kansas City Museum.

Who should attend?

All who have a general or professional interest in the periods prior to, during and after World War I. We especially recommend this symposium to educators, historians and members of organizations that study these periods.

Imagery: British and German aviation symbols over a cartoon of a cloud with tiny silhouetted airplanes. Text: 'Over The Front / The League of WWI Aviation Historians'

New this year


The League of WWI Aviation Historians is hosting an Autumn seminar (immediately following the Museum and Memorial's symposium) on Saturday, Oct. 28 and Sunday, Oct. 29. Register through the Museum and Memorial below.


Learn more    Register


Ben Brands

On Hallowed Ground: The American Battle Monuments Commission

Established in 1923 by Congress, the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) was founded to oversee the construction of commemorative monuments for the American Expeditionary Forces. Within a decade, the Commission’s responsibilities expanded from building memorial chapels in the eight permanent military cemeteries in Europe to the total management and maintenance of these sacred spaces – tasks originally conducted by the War Department. Nearly a quarter of the 124,000 American war dead interred in ABMC cemeteries served during the Great War. This talk will explore the origins and evolution of the ABMC’s commemorative work over the last century.

Ben Brands is a historian with the American Battle Monuments Commission. A Ph.D. candidate at George Mason University, where he held the L. Claire Kincannon Internship at the George Mason University Libraries' Special Collections Research Center, Brands specializes in the history of the United States Army in the 19th century. Brands has taught courses on military history at Oregon State University and the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he was an Assistant Professor from 2015 to 2017. A former infantry officer in the United States Army, Brands also worked at the U.S. Army's Center of Military History helping to write the official history of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.



Jonathan D. Bratten

“General Pershing once called us Boy Scouts”: National Guard Service, Memory and Memorialization of World War I

The memory of World War I for the United States National Guard is complicated. Despite widespread community pride in their service, and monuments built in their honor at home and in France, many National Guard personnel felt that the Army – and Pershing, specifically – never gave them their due. Before the Great War, the National Guard was not considered an integrated part of the United States Army. Many doubted the National Guard’s performance, despite being restructured in 1903 and again in 1916 to become more like the regular Army in equipment, uniforms and training. Some even referred to them as “boy scouts.” Once in France, the 11 National Guard divisions who saw combat demonstrated their prowess on the battlefield to American, Allied and German leadership, which not only sustained these divisions in the post-war army force structure, but also led to today’s reliance on the National Guard as the Army’s integrated reserve force.

Jonathan D. Bratten is the author of “To the Last Man: A National Guard Regiment in the Great War, 1917–1919” (Army University Press, 2020) which received the 2020 Army Historical Foundation’s Distinguished Writing Award. He is a historian of the American colonial era and World War I, as well as an officer in the Army National Guard. He holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in history and has served two company command tours, as well as a tour as an instructor in the Department of History at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point from 2021 to 2022. He is a veteran of Afghanistan and served in the Capitol response mission in 2021. In 2016, Bratten served as a historical on-screen adviser for the Smithsonian Channel documentary, “Americans Underground: Secret Cities of World War One.” He has written for Army History, The Washington Post and The New York Times. Bratten contributed chapters to the anthologies “Strategy Strikes Back: How Star Wars Explains Modern Military Conflict” (2018) and “Armies in Retreat: Chaos, Cohesion, and Consequences” (2023). He is currently on assignment at the U.S. Army Center of Military History.



Nikki Dean

Embodying Memory: Bespoke Bodies

The technological advancements of WWI extended far beyond the battlefield and continue to impact how we live today. The Museum and Memorial’s most recent exhibition, Bespoke Bodies: The Design & Craft of Prosthetics, explores the historical evolution of prosthetic design from the WWI era to the 21st century through limb difference communities, technology, and the personal experiences of amputees and prosthetists. In partnership with Design Museum Everywhere, the Museum and Memorial seeks to answer difficult and important questions about WWI’s complicated history of limb loss, amputee care, veteran support and the people who fostered the technologies and possibilities of prosthetics. After the lecture, explore the Bespoke Bodies exhibition with Collections staff.

Nikki Dean is a military history interpreter at the National WWI Museum and Memorial, providing research support to exhibition design, educational content development and public programming. A retiree from the U.S. Army, Dean served for over 21 years as an aviation officer and was stationed throughout the United States, in Germany and in the Republic of Korea, and is a veteran of the recent Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Her last assignment with the U.S. Army was with the Combined Arms Center in Fort Leavenworth, developing command and control doctrine and hosting the Breaking Doctrine podcast. Currently, Dean is a graduate student at the University of Kansas, researching the intersection of armed conflict and provenance curation and the impact of the post-WWI treaties of peace on the movement of art objects as war reparations.



Richard S. Fogarty

Greater France and the Great War: A Century of Global Remembrance

The global reverberations of the First World War were as clear in 1923 as they had been between 1914 and 1918: France and Belgium’s occupation of Germany’s industrial Ruhr region to enforce war reparations, along with the Treaty of Lausanne that officially ended the war between the Ottoman Empire and the Entente powers, were directly connected with the French colonial empire known as “Greater France.” France promised allies worried about racial hierarchies that it would not deploy troops from Africa and Asia in the Ruhr, as it had done earlier on the Western Front and in occupied Germany. Clearly, the Great War made matters of race and empire more relevant and fraught in the years after 1918, and long after 1923, as millions of people in France and its empire continued struggling to understand the meaning of the war and their service to France in a world still ruled by empires: deciphering the implications and remembrance of WWI was as much a global affair as waging it.

Richard S. Fogarty earned his Ph.D. in History at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and is Associate Professor of History at the University at Albany, State University of New York. He is the author of “Race and War in France: Colonial Subjects in the French Army, 1914-1918” (2008) and the co-editor of “Empires in World War I: Shifting Frontiers and Imperial Dynamics in a Global Conflict” (2014) and of the Africa section of “1914-1918-online, International Encyclopedia of the First World War.” He is currently working on a book about the French colonial empire during the First World War, “Greater France and the Great War,” and a longer-term project about Muslim North African prisoners of war in Germany tentatively titled “Under Strange Moons: Islam, Captivity and Contested Identities during the First World War.”



Doug Frost

Doug Frost is a Master Sommelier and the United States’ eighth Master of Wine – a designation he achieved in 1991. Frost was the second person in history to complete both exams, and more than a quarter century later he is still one of only three people in the world to have achieved both these remarkable distinctions. A contributor to the Oxford Companion of Wine, Opus Vino, The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson and The Wine Report, an annual report edited by Tom Stevenson, Frost has also authored three books and numerous articles for San Francisco Chronicle, the Underground Wine Journal, Drinks International, Practical Winery & Vineyard, Wines & Vines, Wines & Spirits, Cheers Magazine, Sante Magazine, Hemispheres Magazine, Missouri Life, Fine Cooking,, Le Pan, and the Kansas City Star. He is the founder and director of the Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition; Head Judge and founder of the Mid-American Wine Competition; and runs the Washington Cup, a competition for American craft spirits.



Mark E. Grotelueschen

Glorious Deeds Long Since Forgotten: The American First Army and the St. Mihiel Offensive

Nothing in American military history had ever come close in size or complexity as the 1918 St. Mihiel Offensive—and yet, no greater battle in American history is less well-known or misunderstood. With the support of approximately 550,000 Americans and over 100,000 French, British and Italian personnel, and the employment of 3,000 artillery pieces, over 1,000 aircraft, hundreds of tanks and the electromagnetic spectrum, the First Army decisively defeated Armee-Abteilung C in just a few days – liberating over 200 square miles of French territory and suffering just 10,000 casualties itself. In the spirit of Pershing’s claim – that “time will not dim the glory of their deeds” – this talk seeks to shine some light on the deeds and achievements involved with the creation the First Army and its victory at St. Mihiel.

Mark E. Grotelueschen graduated with Academic Distinction from the United States Air Force Academy, earned an M.A. in Military and Diplomatic History from the University of Calgary and holds a Ph.D. in History from Texas A&M University. An award-winning instructor, Grotelueschen has taught for more than a decade at the USAF Academy and currently serves as the Chief of Academic Administration in the Department of Military and Strategic Studies. During his 27-year service in the Air Force, Grotelueschen commanded the 380th Expeditionary Maintenance Operations Squadron at Al Dhafra Air Base in the United Arab Emirates; served in the Strategy, Plans, and Programs Directorate (A5) of US Air Forces Africa at Ramstein AB in Germany; and was deployed as a United Nations peacekeeper in the United Nations Mission in Liberia. Grotelueschen has authored and edited many publications, including The AEF Way of War: The American Army and Combat in World War I. He currently serves as a trustee of the Society for Military History.



Michael Hankins

Myth and Memory of The Lafayette Escadrille

Even before the United States entered the war, American flyers were volunteering to fight for the Allies. In 1915, Norman Prince (a Harvard Law School graduate living in France) organized a group of American pilots called the American Escadrille – later renamed the Lafayette Escadrille after German protests of neutrality violations – to help the French military. After the United States declared war, 93 pilots from the Lafayette Escadrille joined the U.S. Army Air Service, including Major Raoul Luftberry, who became its top-ranking ace. The squadron captured the imaginations of the American public when local newspapers printed stories of their daring missions—and the antics of their lion mascots, Whiskey and Soda. This talk will delve into the stories of the men who mythologized early aviation in the Great War and explore this myth’s legacy on their remembrance.

Dr. Michael Hankins is the Curator of U.S. Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps post-World War II Aviation at The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Previously, Hankins was Assistant Professor of Strategy at the U.S. Air Force's eSchool of Graduate PME (the distance learning component of the Air Command and Staff College) and an Instructor of Military History at the U.S. Air Force Academy. His most recent book, “Flying Camelot: The F-15, the F-16, and the Weaponization of Fighter Pilot Nostalgia”, explores how fighter pilot culture and the memory of World War I shaped technological decision-making during the development of the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon. Hankins continues to pursue research into the interaction between culture and military aviation technology, both in the armed forces and in American society. He earned his Ph.D. in history at Kansas State University and a master’s in history from the University of North Texas.



Matthew Naylor

Dr. Matthew Naylor is the President and CEO of the National WWI Museum and Memorial. A native of Australia, Naylor began his tenure at the Museum and Memorial in June 2013 and possesses more than 30 years of leadership in the non-profit arena. Under Naylor’s leadership, the Museum and Memorial has achieved unprecedented success – breaking and resetting records for attendance, educational and community event participants, website traffic, media and social media impressions and digital learning. During his tenure, the number of visitors to Museum and Memorial exhibits, events and programming has increased by more than 60% and the Museum and Memorial has been profiled by media outlets across the world, generating billions of earned media impressions (over 7 billion in 2021 alone). In 2018, he was named NonProfit PRO “Executive of the Year” and in 2019, Ingram’s Magazine included him on its “50 Missourians You Should Know” list.



Lisa Shockley

Endeavors: Corinthian Hall and a History of Philanthropy

Shortly after WWI, lumberman and baron of industry Robert A. (R.A.) Long was actively involved in the creation, fundraising for and actions of the Liberty Memorial Association, which was to create the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri. Learn about this philanthropist, whose fortune exceeded $40 million at its peak, who believed that “using money right...requires more judgment than to make it.”

Lisa Shockley has more than 30 years of experience working in the museum field, as well as the public sector. As Curator of Collections at the Kansas City Museum, Shockley specializes in the social history of the late 19th and 20th centuries. Along with the Kansas City Museum, Shockley has been an official scholar/researcher at the National Music Museum, the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Ashmolean Museum at Oxford University. Prior to her work in the museum field, Shockley was a news reporter and classical music host for an NPR station.



Lora Vogt

Lora Vogt is the Vice President of Education and Interpretation at the National WWI Museum and Memorial. Founded in 1926, the Museum and Memorial holds the most comprehensive collection of Great War artifacts in the world and has been ranked one of the top 25 museums in the country. Under Vogt’s guidance as an educator and historian, the Museum and Memorial has consistently broken records for public program engagement and educational participation. Along with internationally recognized exhibitions and history resources, her work has been included in The New York Times, The Washington Post and NPR’s All Things Considered.



Christopher Warren

Christopher Warren has worked at the Museum since 2022 as Vice President of Collections and Senior Curator. As a member of the senior management team, Christopher oversees the collections and curatorial team, which is responsible for acquisitions of new objects; curating, production, and management of exhibitions; collections digitization; object loans; and interpreting and organizing the Museum collection. He regularly publishes in scholarly and lay media, teaches university courses, and develops presentations for public programs. Warren holds a B.A. in History from the University of Kansas, an M.A. in History from George Mason University, a J.D. in Law from the George Mason University School of Law, and a Ph.D. in History from George Mason University.


Thursday, Oct. 26

10 a.m.-5 p.m. — Museum and Memorial open

3-5 p.m. — Check-in at Museum and Memorial Guest Services

Friday, Oct. 27

10 a.m.-5 p.m. — Museum and Memorial open

8-8:30 a.m. — Shuttle service from the Hampton Inn Hotel to the Museum and Memorial

8:45-9 a.m. — Welcome | Matthew Naylor

9-10 a.m. — Session 1 | Benjamin Brands

10-10:10 a.m. — Break | Museum Store opens

10:10-11:10 a.m. — Session 2 | Richard Fogarty

11:10 a.m.-12:10 p.m. — Session 3 | Jonathan Bratten

12:10-1:45 p.m. — Lunch at the Museum and Memorial | Book Signing

1:45-2:45 p.m. — Session 4 | Nikki Dean

2:45-2:55 p.m. — Break

3-4 p.m. — Session 5 | Michael Hankins

4-5 p.m. — Session 6 | Doug Frost | Wine Tasting

5-5:30 p.m. — Shuttle service from the Museum and Memorial to the Kansas City Museum

5:30-7:30 p.m. — Session 7 | Lecture and Reception at the Kansas City Museum

7:30 p.m. — Shuttle service from the Kansas City Museum to the Hampton Inn Hotel

Saturday, Oct. 28

10 a.m.-5 p.m. — Museum and Memorial open

8-8:30 a.m. — Shuttle service from the Hampton Inn Hotel to the Museum and Memorial

8:30 a.m. — Doors open

9-10 a.m. — Session 8 | Mark Grotelueschen

10-10:15 a.m. — Break

10:15-11:45 a.m. — Session 9 | Christopher Warren and Lora Vogt | Behind-the-Scenes Tour

11:45 a.m.-noon — Closing Remarks | Lora Vogt

Noon- 1 p.m. — Lunch at the Museum and Memorial

12:30-1:30 p.m. — Shuttle service from the Museum and Memorial to the Hampton Inn Hotel


National WWI Museum and Memorial Symposium (Oct. 27-28)

General Registration $250
Museum Volunteers $125
Teacher/Student $75
Online Only $60
Reception Only $45

The League of WWI Aviation Historians Seminar (Oct. 28-29)

General Registration $250

Combination Symposium and Seminar (Oct. 27-29)

General Registration $400

Hotel Information


A discounted block of rooms is set aside at the Hampton Inn & Suites Kansas City - Country Club Plaza. Please use this link to book your room at the special Symposium rate or contact the hotel for further information. To receive the special rate, reservations must be completed by Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023.

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Refund Policy


The Museum and Memorial will honor a 50 percent refund on registration fees until Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023. On Oct. 7 and beyond, no refunds will be granted. Attendees may contact Mark Gunter at 816.888.8103 to request a refund.

In partnership with

American Battle Monuments Commission 100 years logo
Imagery: British and German aviation symbols over a cartoon of a cloud with tiny silhouetted airplanes. Text: 'Over The Front / The League of WWI Aviation Historians'
WW1 Historical Association logo
Kansas City Museum logo

Past Symposia

Shifting Tides: Citizenship in a World of Conflict

Nov. 4-5, 2022

Engulfed by four years of total war, the world emerged transformed. Amid the unfamiliarity of wartime and post-war societies, populations were both bound by tradition and buoyed by bids to reshape political, economic and social landscapes.

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Fractured Fronts

Oct. 29-30, 2021

As the Great War “ended,” many questions confronted the global community that remain just as pressing today as they did one hundred years ago: How does war impact how we understand ourselves and our place in the world? What does it mean to “come home” when the places and people you called home have changed irrevocably?

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1919: Peace?

Nov. 1-2, 2019

1919 was a year of sweeping changes in a landscape dramatically altered by years of unrelenting warfare. Leaders advanced towards elusive peace amid political instability, economic uncertainty and social conflict. As terms of the Treaty of Versailles were negotiated, a world reordered faced decisions and realities that would leave a complex legacy.

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1918: Crucible of War

Nov. 1-3, 2018

Explore the irrevocable changes five years of cataclysmic conflict wrought on the global stage. As borders were literally and figuratively redrawn, Allies celebrated a victory and the world came to terms with the irreparable devastation and losses of the “war to end all wars.”

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1917: America Joins the Fight

Nov. 3-4, 2017

The United States emerged from its traditional isolation in 1917 and began to take its place in the forefront of world affairs. As the U.S. mobilized its farms, industries, and formed a large army, it confronted curtailing civil liberties and faced a possible demand for equity in return for support.

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Remembering Muted Voices

Oct. 19-22, 2017

Although the U.S. actively took part in the conflict for only 18 months, the war effort introduced mass conscription, transformed the American economy and mobilized popular support through war bonds, patriotic rallies and anti-German propaganda. Nevertheless, many people desired a negotiated peace, opposed American intervention, refused to support the war effort and even imagined future world orders that could eliminate war.

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1916: Total War

Nov. 4-5, 2016

Explore the pivotal year of 1916, where global socio-political tensions created by World War I continued escalation and irrevocably changed the economic, military, and cultural landscape of the world.

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1915: Empires at War

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.

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1914: Global War and American Neutrality

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.

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