Nicholls to host World War I exhibit

THIBODAUX, La. — This year is the 100th anniversary of the United States entrance into World War I and Ellender Memorial Library at Nicholls State University will pay tribute to the War to End All Wars with an exhibit running during the fall semester.

This program is part of World War I and America, a two-year national initiative of The Library of America presented in partnership with The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, the National World War I Museum and Memorial and other organizations, with generous support from The National Endowment for the Humanities.

Nicholls department of history, the office of Veterans Services and the Regional Military Museum have collaborated with the library to bring the event to campus.

Included in the exhibit will be letters, photographs, scrapbooks, sheet music, poetry and other documents from the Nicholls archives, as well as artifacts loaned by the Regional Military Museum in Houma, including a uniforms, bayonets, models, posters and a German trench mortar.

“The goal of this exhibit is to demonstrate what life was like for Americans during World War I, particularly for people from this region of the country,” said Helen Thomas, librarian and assistant archivist at Nicholls. “As with all of our exhibits, we hope that people will come away with more knowledge of the subject, and also a glimpse of the kind of resources that are available for research here at the Nicholls Archives.”

In 2016, Nicholls received a grant from the Library of America to support programming related to the centennial of America’s entrance into World War I.

The exhibit opens on Monday and will be held from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday in the archives and special collections department of the library.

In addition to the exhibit, a reception will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 23 in the Cotillion Ballroom, featuring documents and artifacts from the archives and the Regional Military Museum, including a special viewing of the Elks Lodge’s 1918 parade flag.

Historians and local veterans will discuss first-hand accounts and reflect on the impact of the Great War in a panel discussion held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 9 in Le Bijou Theater.

“Exhibits like this put our veterans, both past and present, and their sacrifices in the spotlight,” said Gilberto Burbante, coordinator of Veterans Services at Nicholls. “Nicholls is one of the most military friendly campuses in the state and events like these solidify that designation.”