Entertaining the Troops Opens Thursday, Feb. 23 at the National WWI Museum and Memorial

From sports, gambling and music to theater and dancing, “Entertaining the Troops” highlights the life of a WWI soldier beyond the battlefield.

Contact: Karis Erwin, National WWI Museum and Memorial, (816) 888-8122, kerwin@theworldwar.org

Select exhibition images/captions available on Dropbox.

KANSAS CITY, MO. – Entertaining the Troops gives a peek into the life of a WWI soldier beyond the battlefield, whether waiting for the enemies’ next move or partying in Paris. Opening on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2023, Entertaining the Troops will be on display in the National WWI Museum and Memorial’s Exhibit Hall.

“War is months of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer terror.” As near as anyone can figure, this saying came out of the endless trench warfare of World War I. But what to do about the boredom? And how to distract from the moments of terror? Soldiers of all nations and militaries turned to a wide variety of entertainment.

“We created this exhibition to share the lighter side of life for many soldiers during the Great War. When not engaged in conflict, soldiers needed something to occupy their minds and spirits. They were ordinary people with diverse interests simply looking for ways to fill their time.” said Patricia Cecil, Specialist Curator at the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

Troops facing long hours in the trenches might read, draw, write a letter – or play a game of cards (gambling optional). When away from the front lines and the chances of enemy assault, they might organize a game of soccer, football, or baseball, play in a band or attend a theater show (and they might be in the show if professional entertainment was scarce). Camp canteens offered food and drinks that weren’t available on the battlefield. Plus, there was always the opportunity to travel to nearby towns and cities, for a variety of both respectable and illicit entertainment.

Admission to Entertaining the Troops is included in a general admission ticket to the Museum. A variety of engaging public programs will support the exhibition. Stay tuned to theworldwar.org for more information.


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 theworldwar.org.