Remembering America’s ‘Forgotten War’ in Whippany

As part of a statewide remembrance of the 100th anniversary of our nation’s entry into World War I, a free day-long “World War One Road Show’’ event will be held at the Morris County Library in Whippany on Saturday, Oct. 14.

Residents are encouraged to bring in their artifacts, memorabilia, and share family history from the era.

They will have a unique opportunity –- whether history enthusiasts or casual observers — to meet experts from the New Jersey State Archives and the Morris County Archives who can speak one-on-one about your WWI-related objects, manuscripts, photographs, textiles, and other memorabilia.

They also can share their professional expertise about caring for your items.

In addition, there are scheduled special presentations by historians and re-enactors, including an opportunity for children to have a circa-1917 schoolroom experience.

“Morris County is honored to be the host county for such an impressive and exciting statewide event, which honors those who served in World War I,’’ said Morris County Freeholder Director Doug Cabana. “We remember today the great sacrifices made 100 years ago in the name of freedom by families from across Morris County and our state and nation.’’

This is the second of two World War I Road Shows occurring this year in the state, as part of a yearlong WWI commemoration to the Doughboys, Gold Star Mothers, their families and their era sponsored by the New Jersey Historical Commission, State Archives, and State Museum.

The first Road Show occurred on April 28 at the Toms River Branch of the Ocean County Library.

Organizers for the Oct. 14 event in Morris County have gathered a diverse set of specialists from the State Archives, Morris County Archives, and State Museum, in addition to experts in military history and collectibles, to offer insight and perspective on all WWI memorabilia and family histories brought in by attendees.

Firearms, ammunition, or live artillery shells are not permitted at the event.

There will be a morning session, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and an afternoon session, from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Presentations from several guest speakers will be held throughout the day. Included are:

•Life in the Trenches by John Torkos, past president of the Great War Association, reenactor, and collector of militaria. He also will help identify military items and collectibles.

•World War I History by West Morris Mendham High School history teacher Steve Santucci and Marty Kane, President of the Lake Hopatcong Historical Museum. Kane will discuss New Jersey inventor and chemist Hudson Maxim.

•Picatinny Arsenal in World War I also will be presented by Marty Kane, who will answer questions about the arsenal in the days leading up to and during the war.

Other programs about World War I food, dress, and daily life for civilians and soldiers will be presented throughout the day.

Children will have an opportunity to experience games made and played by children in 1917. They also will have an opportunity to sit in an interactive one-room schoolhouse exhibit.

Visit History.NJ.gov for additional updates and details. Contact Peg Shultz at 973.829.8117 for details.

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