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Pop-Up Museum Kicks Off 100th Anniversary of Mainers' Involvement in World War I

"Over There and Down Home: World War I and Maine" Event Set for Saturday, November 5 in Augusta

Did your family have a soldier in World War I? Do you know of any Maine millworkers producing shoes and textiles during the war years? Was your family part of Maine's efforts to send potatoes to Belgium in 1914, or other foods to war-torn countries in later years? Are you interested in exploring this significant period 100 years ago? If so, Maine's state-wide cultural agencies want you!

Individuals and historical societies across Maine are invited to share artifacts, documents, photographs, and memories from the 1914-1918 period at a free pop-up museum event, Over There and Down Home: World War I in Maine at the Maine State Cultural Building in Augusta on November 5. Hosted by the Maine State Museum, Maine State Library, and Maine State Archives, the event runs from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and includes four lectures by noted historians.

"Both at home and abroad, World War I had a remarkable impact on Mainers," notes Maine State Museum curator Angela Goebel-Bain, one of the pop-up museum's organizers. "We are hoping that people will come to the pop-up museum to share stories, display family heirlooms, and learn about the events and experiences that brought such profound change to our state, nation, and world."

"Pop-up museums have become very popular in recent years," comments Maine State Museum educator Joanna Torow. "People and organizations simply bring in artifacts, documents, and photographs about the pop-up museum's theme, in this case, World War I. We'll help everyone exhibit their treasures. Other visitors will then be able to see the items on display and learn about them from the owners. It all lasts only a few hours, and at the end of the day, the pop-up museum is gone!"

In addition to objects, photographs, and documents brought in by others, the November 5 pop-up museum will feature World War I-related collections from the Maine State Museum, Maine State Library, Maine State Archives, and Maine Military Historical Society.

"A special added attraction at this pop-up museum will be talks from World War I historians who will take visitors from the Maine home front to the war zone in a series of illustrated lectures scheduled throughout the day," according to Goebel-Bain. Featured speakers will be State Historian Earle G. Shettleworth, Jr.; Maine State Museum Director Bernard Fishman; Maine Military Historical Society historian Lt. Jonathan Bratten; and Springfield Armory retired historian Richard Colton.

The recruitment poster above, "You've Got It To Do!", was produced in 1917 by the Maine Public Safety Committee in Bangor and is in the collection of the Maine State Museum. Established in the 1840s, the Second Maine Infantry was known as "Maine's Own." Soon after the United States entered World War I, President Wilson called the Second Maine, the state's National Guard regiment, into service. This poster sought to preempt the draft by encouraging Mainers to demonstrate their patriotism by volunteering first.