World War I in Grant County: A Traveling Exhibit.
Regional museums collaborate on the home frontV Gallery
Authored by Shawn Cardwell
The public is invited to visit and contribute to the World War I in Grant County: A Traveling Exhibit. The show will include national, state and regional history of wartime life overseas and at home. The exhibit will run April thru May at the Moses Lake Museum & Art Center, at the Grant County Historical Society June thru July, find a brief home at the Grant County Fair, and end its journey at the Quincy Valley Museum.
The project started last year when the Karneetsa* Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) were discussing the upcoming Veteran’s Day. While talking, the group realized the centennial for the end of World War I was fast approaching.
“What we do (in DAR) is preserve history, support the military and such. We’re really excited to do something like this to commemorate a historical event and remember our heroes,” DAR committee member and Grant County Historical Society president Stephanie Sherwood, Ephrata, said. Like yeast in bread, a collaborative effort grew.
So far, efforts have uncovered close to 300 Grant County WWI veterans, including 39 gravestones. “Once we got the names, we thought it’d be cool to have an exhibit at the (Moses Lake Museum & Art Center)!,” Sherwood said, a self-proclaimed history buff and granddaughter of e Wesley Robinson, WWI Grant County veteran. Quincy Valley Historical Society Museum director of operations Harriet Weber said local history also compelled her to get involved, “The families still live here and their history is well documented. It feels like I know him… it’s important not to forget, even though it was 100 years ago, these young men were people. I’m thankful this is being done so people don’t forget.”
“[Sherwood] is taking her own personal interest in history and following through, making it something relevant to her community and sharing it,” Moses Lake Museum & Art Center museum manager Freya Liggett, said, and that, she added, is keeping local history local and alive.
Items from the Moses Lake Museum & Art Center, Grant County Historical Society, Sherwood, and the Schiffner Military Collection, make up the initial installation and include a list of Grant County veterans’ names and photos of their gravesites, ephemera, uniforms, weapons, and artillery, among other things. “It’s really fun with a project like this where everyone has a hand in the content and intended to change and grow as it moves venue to venue,” Liggett said.
The collaboration between organizations is a milestone. Weber said of the project, “I’m proud the museums are working together in this area and I’m glad to see it.” Liggett added, “To the best of my knowledge, I can’t remember doing a project of this scale,” and Sherwood is not alone in saying she is “looking forward to doing more in the future that affects the whole county, the whole area.”
Along the exhibit, the Moses Lake Museum & Art Center will host Lorraine McConaghy, for her talk about Washington at War: The Evergreen State in World War I Thursday, April 26 at 7 p.m., and a fundraising campaign will raise money to mark all WW1 veterans’ graves for Veterans’ Day. Community members with pieces of history from the Great War era are encouraged to contact museums involved in the exhibit. A temporary (or permanent) loan can be made and included in the exhibit.
To help with veterans’ markers, include an item in the exhibit or donate to help fund grave markers, please contact any of the major locations.
*Karneetsa is Chief Moses’ mother’s name.
Moses Lake Museum & Art Center at [email protected] or 509-764-3830
Grant County Historical Society/Stephanie Sherwood at [email protected] or 509-754-2559
Quincy Valley Museum at [email protected] or 509-787-4685
To learn more about Daughters of the Revolution email Becky Massart at [email protected]