Charmed Soldiers, New Online Exhibition at the National WWI Museum and Memorial, Launches Thursday, Sept. 28

The exhibition explores tangible objects that represented intangible feelings of hope, faith and luck to their owners.

KANSAS CITY, MO. – Surrounded by industrial violence and death, servicemembers of World War I found renewed faith, discovered magic and witnessed miracles in everyday and extraordinary objects. Charmed Soldiers, the new online exhibition from the National WWI Museum and Memorial features a collection of 22 small, personal belongings that helped fighting forces and war workers hold on to hope, whether in the muddy trenches of the Western Front, on the waves of the South China Sea or flying high above the clouds.

“When I rejoined my men at the northern edge of the woods, I learned that no one had been hurt during my absence, but that a few minutes after I had left a sharp fragment, like a railroad spike, had riven itself deep into the bank just where my chest had been. Call it Luck or call it Providence, it was with me on the Eleventh of October, or I would not be alive today.” —Lieutenant Edward C. Lukens, 320th Infantry

The objects featured in Charmed Soldiers were carried closely through war, including items such as saint medallions, Rin Tin Tin and Nenette dolls and protective folk magic charms that were believed to spiritually protect the carrier or bring good luck.

“Everyone can relate to the stories behind Charmed Soldiers. Even today, most people have a cherished item that represents devout faith or pure luck in their life,” said Dr. Matthew Naylor, President and CEO of the National WWI Museum and Memorial. “During WWI, these tangible items helped many people through the dark moments of their service. Charmed Soldiers is a fascinating examination of objects that tell the very human experience of the Great War.”

Charmed Soldiers is the third online exhibition from the Museum and Memorial in 2023. Learners from around the world visit the Museum and Memorial’s website from over 200 countries. Online exhibitions, as well as the Museum and Memorial’s robust Online Collections Database, enable a global audience to interact with the Museum and Memorial from anywhere in the world.

Charmed Soldiers is made possible through generous support from Lilly Endowment Inc. and donors to the National WWI Museum and Memorial.


About the National WWI Museum and Memorial

The National WWI Museum and Memorial is America’s leading institution dedicated to remembering, interpreting and understanding the Great War and its enduring impact on the global community. The Museum and Memorial holds the most comprehensive collection of World War I objects and documents in the world and is the second-oldest public museum dedicated to preserving the objects, history and experiences of the war. The Museum and Memorial takes visitors of all ages on an epic journey through a transformative period and shares deeply personal stories of courage, honor, patriotism and sacrifice. Designated by Congress as America’s official World War I Museum and Memorial and located in downtown Kansas City, Mo., the National WWI Museum and Memorial inspires thought, dialogue and learning to make the experiences of the Great War era meaningful and relevant for present and future generations. To learn more, visit