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Museum commemorates 100th anniversary of WWI

| August 9, 2016

COSHOCTON – The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum is commemorating World War I with the special exhibit, “Remembering the Great War: the 100th Anniversary of WWI”. The exhibit features uniforms, medals, swords, ordnances, an assortment of regulation supplies, trench art, and propaganda posters. More than 40 firearms—rifles, pistols, revolvers, lugers, and bayonets are included. A number of the displays focus on soldiers from Ohio. For example, Coshocton residents will enjoy seeing an officer’s uniform and quartermaster footlocker owned by Coshocton soldier J.D. Brode. Photos and medals from two other local soldiers, Oliver Buser and Friend Powell, will also be displayed. Buser and Powel served in the US 332nd Infantry Division, and their division helmet which features a griffin logo can be seen. Although military gear issued by the American, German, British and French governments constitutes most of the exhibit, personal items are also included. “Remembering the Great War” is on display from Aug. 12 through Oct. 9.

Many of the relics are unique collectibles such as the Imperial German presentation swords. One has an ivory hilt and lion-head pommel. The blade is inscribed with the recipient’s name, Oswald Fritzsche. Soldiers also personalized their helmets and gas mask bags with “trench art,” created either while on the battlefield or soon afterwards. An exceptional example of trench art is the German infantry helmet that was altered after the war. After painting it gray, the veteran attached the brass eagle plate from a pickelhaube, the Prussian spiked dress infantry helmet. A number of Allied hate belts will be shown. These popular war souvenirs were made from the leather belt of a newly-deceased or captured German soldier. The victorious soldier claimed the belt and then festooned it with buttons and tabs from the defeated soldier and then added his own medals and pins. One British hate belt is particularly elaborate, covered end to end with insignias, buttons and medals.

The exhibit also features gear and souvenir groupings from single soldiers. An example of one such grouping is that of Edmund Arsenault. It contains about 25 items including his tunic with 42nd Division (Rainbow) patch, various stripes, eating and grooming gear, the handbook “Notes on German Artillery Material,” the book “Speak French A book for Soldiers”, and some postcards bought while he was with the Army of Occupation in Germany after the war. Another grouping was used by Professor S. Wells, an African American soldier from Ramage, West Virginia. This grouping includes his camouflaged 2nd Division helmet, gas mask with filled-out usage card, and souvenir German canteen and gas mask. Although it was unusual for African American soldiers in uniform to have photos taken, one is included of Wells in the form of a postcard that he sent to his wife. His collection was kept in his ship carry-on bag.

“Remembering the Great War: The 100th Anniversary of WWI” is a fascinating exhibit about a horrible period in modern history. It will appeal to collectors, history buffs, and all who are interested in human resourcefulness. The exhibit is sponsored by Auer Ace Hardware in Coshocton. The Ohio Arts Council also helped fund this event with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The Johnson-Humrickhouse Museum is open daily from noon to 5 p.m. through October and is located at 300 N. Whitewoman Street, in Historic Roscoe Village, Coshocton, Ohio. In addition to this special exhibit, the museum’s permanent collections are displayed in three galleries: Historic Ohio, American Indian and Asian. The Newark Holy Stones are displayed in a fifth gallery.

For more information, contact JHM at 740-622-8710, email: [email protected]org or visit its website www.jhmuseum.org.

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Category: Arts & Entertainment

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