“The Little War” Now Open at the National WWI Museum and Memorial

How toys, scouting and storybooks taught a clear lesson: loyalty and commitment will win the war.

Contact: Karis Erwin, National WWI Museum and Memorial, 816.888.8122, kerwin@theworldwar.org

Select exhibition images/captions available on Dropbox.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The latest exhibition at the National WWI Museum and Memorial, The Little War, opens Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024 in Exhibit Hall. When war breaks out, it’s not just the adults who are impacted. What does war look like to a child? The Little War explores the lives of children swept up by the storms of World War I while adults were fighting on the front line and supporting the war effort.

Grown-ups everywhere saw children as key to achieving victory and legacy. Through storybooks, toys, games and scouting organizations, impressionable young minds were shaped. Nutrition and diet became key for children who would grow to be strong soldiers and nurses. Meanwhile, Propagandists and relief committees played up stories of war orphans to tug at the heartstrings and pocketbooks of millions. Molded by the first truly global conflict, the children of WWI grew into the generation that would both inflict and endure profound hardship, economic depression and world war in their turn: the Greatest Generation.

“This is the first time we have experimented with an exhibition specifically for children, and also about children,” said Christopher Warren, Vice President of Curatorial Affairs and Chief Curator. “Our hope is that children and adults will visit The Little War and explore a complex topic together in an environment specifically curated for young minds.”

The exhibition text for The Little War will be offered at two separate reading levels to ensure accessibility and comprehension. Created for children and their grown-ups to understand the Great War from a child’s perspective, The Little War will use imaginative play, original toys and games, photos and other artifacts from the time period to reach all ages.

Guests can further engage with the themes of the exhibition in a small hands-on “living room” buildout that will feature WWI-era children’s books and contemporary literature, as well as games and puzzles for play.

Admission to The Little War is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and military and $6 for youth – or just $4 when combined with a general admission ticket. The Little War is appropriate for all ages to discover a lesser-known part of WWI as they journey through childhood in wartime. A variety of engaging 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.