SMSC Exhibit Details Local Effort
With 2017 marking the centennial milestone of the United States entry into World War I, the Southern Maryland Studies Center (SMSC) is taking the opportunity to honor the sacrifices of local soldiers who risked their lives and to remember the war’s impact on the region.
Anna Kephart, SMSC coordinator at the College of Southern Maryland’s La Plata Campus, worked with student assistant Shray Spriggs and volunteer Anita Gordon to create a World War I traveling exhibit for Southern Maryland. The exhibit is made up four panels that include information about what Southern Maryland was like during the World War I years (1917-1919) and Southern Marylanders who supported the war effort both at home and in the military.
“While working on this project, it was very moving to learn about Southern Marylanders’ contributions, patriotism and sacrifices,” Kephart said. “We have made an effort to highlight these unique and personal stories as much as possible in the exhibit. I believe that by viewing the exhibit, people will gain a greater appreciation for how the war impacted people’s lives, and how involved our region’s citizens were in supporting the war effort. We can honor the sacrifices that our citizens made 100 years ago and explore what the region was like during the time period.”
The exhibit educates the public on local citizens who served in the war as well as the various roles that they served in. This piece of history celebrates the service of citizens and gives a firsthand experience of what it was like during those times. Much of the research was collected from historic newspapers and articles. The articles were primarily found in the Times-Crescent and the St. Mary’s Beacon newspapers, but additional articles came from other regional titles. The SMSC exhibit will be moved to many different facilities and organizations at their request and is currently on display at the Maryland Veterans Museum at Patriot Park in Newburg.
Of the 1,426 Southern Marylanders who fought in World War I, 44 lost their lives. In addition, the exhibit looks at the invaluable efforts of Southern Marylanders on the home front to support the war.
World War I is also the theme of this year’s Chautauqua series, hosted at CSM with Maryland Humanities and sponsored in part by Old Line Bank. Chautauqua will feature the SMSC WWI panels, which will be on display at all three events, July 11-13.
Three key figures from 1917 will be portrayed at the outdoor, evening events — Gen. John Pershing on July 11, W.E.B. Du Bois on July 12 and President Woodrow Wilson on July 13. The Chautauqua series will be presented at CSM on the La Plata Campus Fine Arts Center (FA Building) lawn starting at 6:45 p.m. each night.
Audience members are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket as well as food or beverages (no alcohol permitted). In the event of rain, performances will move indoors to the Fine Arts Center. Each evening will open with music, followed by presentations by the Chautauquans with an opportunity for questions and answers.
For information on Chautauqua, visit http://www.mdhumanities.org/programs/chautauqua. For more on the CSM Chautauqua presentation, visit http://www.csmd.edu/community/the-arts/special-events/chautauqua/.
Organizations that would like to display SMSC’s WWI exhibit can contact the Southern Maryland Studies Center at firstname.lastname@example.org or 301-934-7606. Use of the exhibit is free for any organization, school or library.