American WWI Museum opens for centennial
By Gary Lee Kraut
The museum, like the monument above it, is the work of the American Battle Monuments Commission. A presentation space was created along with the monument in the late 1920s but it wasn’t furnished until now, as part of the overall restoration of the monument.
As it had at the Normandy American Cemetery on the eve of the 60th anniversary of D-Day in 2004 with respect to the Second World War and the Battle of Normandy, the ABMC saw the need provide American visitors with an overview of the American intervention in the First and battles in the Aisne region of France on the 100th anniversary of our participation in major combat during that war. After all, pristine cemeteries and imposing monuments and pristine cemeteries aren’t intended merely to serve as dramatic backdrops for the occasional speech by a government official but are to be visited, honored, understood, questioned and contemplated year-round.
Despite its modest size, or rather because of it, the new Amercian WWI museum plays its role to greater effect than the museum in Normandy. Whereas the ABMC’s Normandy museum seeks to direct and frame the visitor’s emotions, the Chateau-Thierry museum appears to have no agenda other than to provide visitors with context and an introduction, where much is needed, to the Great War and to American involvement in it.
Read the full article by Gary Lee Kraut and sign up for a discounted day trip to visit the museum, monument, lunch and champagne producers.