Life as a WWI soldier on display at state museum


A display of patriotic sheet music and a Victrola phonograph on display at the South Carolina State Museum. (Photo courtesy of the South Carolina State Museum)


Civilians and soldiers at a patriotic gathering at Camp Jackson. (South Carolina State Museum collection)


American soldiers in the Bois de Nonsard holding empty beer steins left behind by retreating troops in 1918. Being away from home for many of these young men was a heady experience.


When the first doughboys arrived in Europe, they did not have gas masks and used French M2 gasmasks, which was a glorified surgical mask. In 1918, America produced its own gasmask based on the sturdier British SBR design. (Photo courtesy of the South Carolina State Museum)


Draft notice for William McCall of Travelers Rest.


South Carolina State Museum collection

This display includes a pistol belt (foreground), a Canadian M1907 Ross Rifle Bayonet (at left) and a photograph of a group of Army officers at Camp Sevier near Greenville. The Mark II Ross Rifle was originally used by Canadians but they found it unreliable for fighting. America entered the war ill equipped and needed weapons quickly so it bought 20,000 of the rifles and bayonets from Canada. The weapons were only used in training.


Photo courtesy of the South Carolina State Museum

Joseph Hiram Hardin of Anderson registered for the draft June 5, 1917. He survived the war and returned to his hometown.


South Carolina State Museum collection

American troops in trenches, France. (Image courtesy of the Library of Congress)


Image courtesy the National Archives

A display of what a typical soldier would have worn and the gun he would have used. (Photo courtesy of the South Carolina State Museum)


Image courtesy the National Archives

South Carolina Gov. Richard Manning at his home in Columbia c. 1918. Six of his sons served and one was killed in the trenches near Verdun just before war ended.


South Carolina State Museum collection

COLUMBIA – In the new exhibit, South Carolina and the Great War, opening Saturday, August 13 at the State Museum, guests will get an in-depth look at how one of the world’s most devastating wars impacted life in South Carolina.

Guests will discover what life was like in the state on the eve of war, why America decided to join the war and the efforts South Carolina took to build up forces.

The exhibit will also give guests an up-close experience of what life was like for the 3, 000 South Carolina soldiers who served overseas as well as what life was like for South Carolinians back at home.

“This exhibit is not so much just the military experience, but also the impact the war had on our country and state,” said JoAnn Zeise history curator at the State Museum. “You can make the argument that World War I was the pivotal event of the 20th century, taking us from the 19th century, setting up World War II and the Cold War, and shaping the map in ways still relevant today.”

In this exhibit, guests will travel back to the beginning of the 20th century, when South Carolina was still recovering from the Civil War.

Other areas of the South rebounded with the rise of a “New South” but South Carolina was still struggling despite some bright spots of progress. South Carolinians strongly supported the war and a renewed sense of patriotism swept across the state.

Eight South Carolinians who joined the military earned the Medal of Honor. One of those soldiers was Lt. James Dozier. The exhibit will display the pistol Dozier used during the engagement where he earned his Medal of Honor.

Despite being wounded, he led his men to safety, killed an entire German machine-gun unit, and took several prisoners. Another soldier, whose name might sound familiar, is Guy Lipscomb Sr. Lipscomb’s uniform, along with others will be rotated into the display during the exhibit.

The soldier’s experience, including life in the trenches was dreadful. Some fought their terror and boredom by etching designs into shells and canteens known as trench art. Guests will be able to experience what it would have been like for soldiers by walking through a life-sized recreated trench, complete with weapons and trench art brought back from the war.

Life on the homefront wasn’t easy during the war, guests will see how South Carolina helped out with the war effort in South Carolina, from planting war gardens, voluntarily rationing items such as coal and manufacturing items needed for war.

As if the war wasn’t hard enough on life in South Carolina, the Great Pandemic of the Flu of 1918 struck, killing hundreds of thousands of Americans. Guests will learn how nurses at Camp Jackson and the Charleston Naval Base tried to curtail one of the deadliest epidemics in our nation’s history.

South Carolina and the Great War is free with general admission. The State Museum is open Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday and Wednesday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

A display of patriotic sheet music and a Victrola phonograph on display at the South Carolina State Museum. (Photo courtesy of the South Carolina State Museum)
http://newberryobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_museumWWI-Era-Music-Display.jpgA display of patriotic sheet music and a Victrola phonograph on display at the South Carolina State Museum. (Photo courtesy of the South Carolina State Museum)

Civilians and soldiers at a patriotic gathering at Camp Jackson. (South Carolina State Museum collection)
http://newberryobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_museumAssemleyWWI.jpgCivilians and soldiers at a patriotic gathering at Camp Jackson. (South Carolina State Museum collection)

American soldiers in the Bois de Nonsard holding empty beer steins left behind by retreating troops in 1918. Being away from home for many of these young men was a heady experience.
http://newberryobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_museumBeasley.jpgAmerican soldiers in the Bois de Nonsard holding empty beer steins left behind by retreating troops in 1918. Being away from home for many of these young men was a heady experience.

When the first doughboys arrived in Europe, they did not have gas masks and used French M2 gasmasks, which was a glorified surgical mask. In 1918, America produced its own gasmask based on the sturdier British SBR design. (Photo courtesy of the South Carolina State Museum)
http://newberryobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_museumGas-Mask-Display-Case.jpgWhen the first doughboys arrived in Europe, they did not have gas masks and used French M2 gasmasks, which was a glorified surgical mask. In 1918, America produced its own gasmask based on the sturdier British SBR design. (Photo courtesy of the South Carolina State Museum)

Draft notice for William McCall of Travelers Rest.
http://newberryobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_museumMilitaryOrdersWW.jpgDraft notice for William McCall of Travelers Rest. South Carolina State Museum collection

This display includes a pistol belt (foreground), a Canadian M1907 Ross Rifle Bayonet (at left) and a photograph of a group of Army officers at Camp Sevier near Greenville. The Mark II Ross Rifle was originally used by Canadians but they found it unreliable for fighting. America entered the war ill equipped and needed weapons quickly so it bought 20,000 of the rifles and bayonets from Canada. The weapons were only used in training.
http://newberryobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_museumSoldier-Display-Case.jpgThis display includes a pistol belt (foreground), a Canadian M1907 Ross Rifle Bayonet (at left) and a photograph of a group of Army officers at Camp Sevier near Greenville. The Mark II Ross Rifle was originally used by Canadians but they found it unreliable for fighting. America entered the war ill equipped and needed weapons quickly so it bought 20,000 of the rifles and bayonets from Canada. The weapons were only used in training. Photo courtesy of the South Carolina State Museum

Joseph Hiram Hardin of Anderson registered for the draft June 5, 1917. He survived the war and returned to his hometown.
http://newberryobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_museumSoldierWWI.jpgJoseph Hiram Hardin of Anderson registered for the draft June 5, 1917. He survived the war and returned to his hometown. South Carolina State Museum collection

American troops in trenches, France. (Image courtesy of the Library of Congress)
http://newberryobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_museumTrenches.jpgAmerican troops in trenches, France. (Image courtesy of the Library of Congress)Image courtesy the National Archives

A display of what a typical soldier would have worn and the gun he would have used. (Photo courtesy of the South Carolina State Museum)
http://newberryobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_museumUniform-and-Gun.jpgA display of what a typical soldier would have worn and the gun he would have used. (Photo courtesy of the South Carolina State Museum)Image courtesy the National Archives

South Carolina Gov. Richard Manning at his home in Columbia c. 1918. Six of his sons served and one was killed in the trenches near Verdun just before war ended.
http://newberryobserver.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/web1_museumWarHorseWWI016.jpgSouth Carolina Gov. Richard Manning at his home in Columbia c. 1918. Six of his sons served and one was killed in the trenches near Verdun just before war ended. South Carolina State Museum collection

Story provided by the South Carolina State Museum.

Story provided by the South Carolina State Museum.

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