We forget today just what an impact World War I had on the lives of its participants and their families. This is the opening line for the Webmaster’s “We Forget Today” blogposts. But the staff at the Red Mill Museum Village in Clinton, NJ have not forgotten. In fact, for a small museum with a small exhibition space they’ve put together a wonderfully thorough exhibit outlining Hunterdon County’s role in WW1. Readers in the area are encouraged to visit it.
What made this exhibit stand out in the Webmaster’s mind is the wide range of material presented in a relatively small display space. In addition to covering the boys “over there” topics include: The sinking of the Lusitania (and its Hunterdon County passengers), NJ women in the suffragette movement, the county’s German heritage and potential sabotage, NJ training camps, the role of Princeton students, children’s games, bond drives, etc. For all of these topics there is a mix of signage and artifacts that bring WW1 back to life in Hunterdon County.
The piece de la resistance, in the Webmaster’s opinion, is a wall of death cards for Hunterdon County that the museum reproduced. The death toll, by cause, is as follows:
Pneumonia and Related 21
Killed in Action 9
While the entire museum staff has worked hard on this presentation a special shout out goes to Elizabeth Cole, Curator of Collections, and the Collections Volunteers for pulling all of the pieces together. The Webmaster first toured the exhibit with a U.K. friend and reenactor who has seen hundreds of small town displays in the U.K. He too was very impressed by the wide range of topics covered and the artifacts presented.
Another shout out goes to Assistant Director, Marie Salthouse, who has put together four specific “Splash of History” Lectures. There is one left on August 10. Brian Armstrong will talk about the “Spanish Influenza and its Effects on New Jersey Soldiers in WW1.”
Readers in the area need to visit this museum before it closes; and they should make efforts to attend that presentation.
During the Centennial period, countless museums and historical societies are setting up similar displays. Readers who would like to highlight ones that they like should contact the Webmaster.