Exhibit | April 5, 2017

"Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I" Opens at the LOC

April 4—The Library of Congress today opens a major exhibition to commemorate the centennial of World War I.  “Echoes of the Great War: American Experiences of World War I” tells the stories of Americans in the war, through correspondence, music, film, recorded sound, diaries, posters, photographs, scrapbooks, medals, maps and materials from the Veterans History Project.

The exhibition is located in the Southwest Gallery on the second floor of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C.  It is free and open to the public through January 2019, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Saturday.  Tickets are not needed.

“Echoes of the Great War” marks the 100th anniversary of the United States’ entry into the conflict, on April 6, 1917, when Congress formally declared war on the German Empire.  The fighting ended on Nov. 11, 1918, with the armistice agreement.

Two hundred items are featured in the initial installation, but during the exhibition’s 21-month run, hundreds more will be rotated into the display.

The exhibition is organized into four sections:

“Arguing Over War” features debates about whether Americans should enter the war or remain neutral and examines early efforts at international humanitarian aid by the United States.

“Over Here” explores mobilization for war by the U.S. government and citizens, including enlistment, training, war gardens, Liberty Bond drives, censorship and the significant contributions of women, immigrants and African-Americans to the war effort.

“Over There” highlights the overseas experiences of American soldiers and medical volunteers as they experienced industrialized warfare with its new deadly technologies.

“World Overturned” touches on the war’s effects, as national borders were redrawn, returning soldiers reintegrated into America, and jazz spread across Europe. 

In addition to the exhibition, the Library of Congress has scheduled an array of programming to commemorate the centennial of World War I.  The events and initiatives include lectures, symposia, blogs, publications, digitized collections, War Gardens, veterans’ stories, educational tools, film programs and research guides.  For more information, please visit loc.gov/wwi.

The Library is uniquely prepared to tell the story of U.S. participation in World War I, because it holds the largest multi-format collection of materials on the American experience in the Great War. 

The exhibition is made possible, in part, by the Library of Congress Third Century Fund and developed with the support of the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress. Additional support is provided from HISTORY for related educational materials.

The Library of Congress is the world’s largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States—and extensive materials from around the world—both on site and online. It is the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a visit at loc.gov, access the official site for U.S. federal legislative information at congress.gov, and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.