Jersey City World War I Centennial Exhibition Opens

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WWI Beyond Flanders Fields exhibition The Hudson County Community College (HCCC) Department of Cultural Affairs launched its fall season with an exhibition commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of the Great War in Jersey City, New Jersey.

WWI: Beyond Flanders Fields curated by Michelle Vitale, HCCC Director of Cultural Affairs honors New Jersey veterans and features unique military items from the National World War I Museum and Memorial, lectures by distinguished scholars, and interactive displays.

The exhibition opened on Monday, September 10 in the Dineen Hull Gallery on the sixth floor of the College’s Gabert Library Building at 71 Sip Avenue in Jersey City and will remain open through November 19, 2018. There is no charge for admission.

Items that may be viewed throughout the exhibition include:

Military items, medals, shrapnel similar to that launched during Jersey City’s 1916 Black Tom explosion, a U.S. service coat with an insignia from the New York 77th Division, archival photos of soldiers in training at Dickinson High School and more.

World War I posters which played a vital role in engaging Americans. Images displayed depict war themes about women, war bonds, books, and enlistment.

A special installation – a commemorative poppy memorial – that is dedicated to Hudson County Veterans. The College and its partners helped compile the list of names of Hudson County residents who served and died in the war.

Weekday film screenings through November 16 highlight tales of love, mutiny, trench battles, patriotism, and wartime poverty. Movie titles include A Farewell to Arms (1932), Paths of Glory (1957), Westfront (1918), and Wooden Crosses (1932).

The exhibition’s official opening reception was held on Tuesday, September 11, and featured a lecture by Andrea Siotto on “The Experience of Trench Warfare on the Western Front.” Allied Forces’ trench warfare strategies in Belgium and France prevented German troops from advancing through Europe. Soldiers from the United States, Great Britain, and France built thousands of miles of trenches for protection from machine gun and artillery fire. An Italian doctorate candidate in the History Department at Temple University, Siotto has studied the technology and tactics used before and during the war. He holds a master’s degree in History from the Universita degli Studi Roma Tre in Rome, Italy.

American involvement in World War I is memorialized at more than 50 locations in and around New York Harbor. On Tuesday, September 25, Kevin C. Fitzpatrick gave a lecture which highlighted on WWI monuments that are on display in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area. Fitzpatrick is the author of seven books including World War I New York: A Guide to the City’s Enduring Ties to the Great War. The program director for the WWI Centennial Committee for New York City, Fitzpatrick details the stories behind the memorials erected after 1918.

In partnership with the Jersey City Office of Cultural Affairs the College’s “Twilight Tuesdays” program will feature World War I Poetry and Prose. HCCC faculty and distinguished community members will read poetry and prose highlighting the war for National Book Month. The readings will take place on October 9 from 7 to 9 pm at the Apple Tree House, 298 Academy Street, Jersey City. The event is free, reservations are strongly encouraged.

The exhibition’s Closing Reception will be held on November 15, 4 to 7 pm at Gabert Library Building at 71 Sip Ave., Jersey City. Captain Devon Collins, a professor at West Point, will give a lecture on “POW veterans in WWI.” Lecture will begin at 4:30 pm. Light refreshments will be served.

Fall Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 11 am to 5 pm, and Tuesdays, 11 am to 8 pm. For more information, click here.

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