Home / Archaeology and History / The Little War exhibit at National War I Museum shows Great War from children’s perspective
little war

The Little War exhibit at National War I Museum shows Great War from children’s perspective

World War I took a heavy toll, not only on the soldiers who fought but also on the families who waited for them at home. The Little War, a new exhibit that opened this week at the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, offers a revealing look at the war through the eyes of children.

“This is the first time the Museum and Memorial has experimented with an exhibition specifically for children, and also about children,” said Natalie Walker, Special Curator — Women, Communities of Color, Indigenous Peoples. “Our goal is to have children and adults visit The Little War and explore a complex topic together in an environment specifically curated for young minds.”

The exhibit brings to life events that happened more than 100 years ago.

“The Great War was supposed to be the war to end all wars, and yet here we are more than a century later still experiencing global conflict,” she told Metro Voice. “This exhibit provides a space dedicated to examining war from a child’s perspective and an opportunity to have important conversations about ongoing conflict in the world.”

little war

Age-specific displays make the exhibit appropriate for all ages of children.

“The exhibition text for The Little War will be offered at two separate reading levels, third grade and eighth grade, to ensure accessibility and comprehension,” Walker said. “Created for children and their grown-ups to understand the Great War from a child’s perspective, The Little War will use imaginative play, original toys and games, photos and other artifacts from the time period to reach all ages.”

Several hands-on activities also are available. “Guests can further engage with the themes of the exhibition in a small hands-on `living room’ buildout that will feature WWI-era children’s books and contemporary literature, as well as games and puzzles for play,” she said.

Children may enjoy visiting several other areas of the museum after learning about The Little War, Walker said.

  • “In the Main Gallery we have several new interactive installations which combine elements of play and learning. There are four interactive table screens, each one examining a different aspect of the war: uniforms, maritime, communications and aviation.”
  • “Additionally, there are touchscreen stations in the `America Mobilizes’ section of the Main Gallery, which allow the user to scroll through collection items illustrating how Americans prepared for and supported the war effort.”
  • “Another excellent and kid-friendly interactive is a touchscreen featuring images and videos of animals who helped the war effort. Both in the Main Gallery and the Bergman Family Gallery on the Lower Level, visitors can find displays of children’s items from the time period.”

Admission to The Little War is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and military and $6 for youth, or $4 when combined with a general admission ticket. Walker believes children will leave with a better understanding not only of the past but of the present.

“Children from all combatant nations greatly contributed to the war effort and played vital roles in home-front support,” she said. “Their experiences are often overlooked, and it’s my hope that this exhibition sheds light on and elevates children’s significant involvement in World War I.”

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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