On Saturday, the N.C. Museum of History in downtown Raleigh will mark the 100th anniversary of the United States' entry into World War I with the opening of a new exhibit that focuses on North Carolina's contribution to the war.
North Carolina and World War I is believed to be the largest exhibit of its kind among state history museums.
It will feature a life-sized replica trench environment with a maze of seven-foot-high walls spread over much of the exhibit’s 6,500 square feet, according to a press release. Hundreds of sandbags line the “earthen” trench, from one illuminated case to the next, and interactive videos and film footage “periscopes” dot the way, the release says.
There also will be a re-created field hospital, wall-sized photo murals, historical film footage and more than 500 artifacts on display. The state sent more than 85,000 soldiers to battle, according to a press release. Thousands more served stateside.
Saturday's opening event includes a wreath-laying ceremony with Governor Roy Cooper, N.C. dignitaries and military representatives; an armored Humvee and a five-ton cargo truck from the N.C. National Guard; a bagpiper in WWI regalia; costumed WWI soldier reenactors; a mobile museum from the N.C. National Guard Museum; hands-on activities and crafts; and other activities.
The wreath-laying ceremony with Cooper, members of the North Carolina National Guard and other dignitaries will be at 10 a.m., Saturday, at the WWI section of the North Carolina Veterans Memorial on the grounds of the State Capitol building in Raleigh. Attendees will then cross Edenton Street to the museum for a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially open the new exhibit.
The ceremony and exhibit are open to the public. It's all free.