KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Free admission for veterans/active duty military and half-price admission for the general public during Memorial Day weekend, a new special exhibition on the catastrophic battles of the Somme and Verdun and the latest Operation event uncovering the change in the modern silhouette are among the May events at the National World War I Museum and Memorial.
As the commemoration of the Centennial of World War I (2014-19) continues, the National World War I Museum and Memorial serves as a fitting place to honor and recognize the men and women who sacrificed their lives while serving their country during Memorial Day weekend. The Museum offers nearly 10 events for people of all ages, including a display of vintage military vehicles, a family-friendly storytime program and a free public ceremony on Memorial Day featuring former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Kansas City native General (Ret.) Richard Myers. Admission to the Museum is free for veterans and active duty military personnel courtesy of Park University, and admission is half-price for the general public all weekend. A complete list of events can be found at theworldwar.org/memorialday.
Mud and mayhem, death and destruction, staggering unnecessary losses. All aptly describe the two pivotal battles of 1916, the Somme and Verdun. The attack by British and French forces was meant to break the Western Front stalemate. It did not. They Shall Not Pass | 1916, a Museum special exhibition, sheds light on the personal side of these conflicts and opens to the public on Friday, May 6. Museum Senior Curator Doran Cart illustrates the production of the exhibition from concept to realization in a free program at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 7.
History reveals that World War I changed everything about undergarments. From corsets to camisoles, uncover the change of the modern silhouette in the latest in the Museum’s Operation series, Operation: Undressed. The event at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 19 features a conversation with Birdies Lingerie Owner Peregrine Honig, National World War I Museum and Memorial President and CEO Dr. Matthew Naylor and Kansas City Museum Executive Director Anna Marie Tutera in an unforgettable evening including cocktails curated by Ça Va, a gourmet food spread and live music from Shay Estes. Tickets are $35 and available at the worldwar.org.
Examine the historical, cultural, dance and musical context of the May 29, 1913 dramatic premiere of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, which resulted in a riot. Springtime in Paris: Riots and Mayhem is a free program at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11 featuring Dr. Matthew Naylor moderating a conversation with Dr. Ilyana Karthas, Assistant Professor of History at the University of Missouri – Columbia; Ramona Pansegrau, Music Director of the Kansas City Ballet; and Devon Carney, Artistic Director of the Kansas City Ballet.
Other events in May include Mrs. Wilson’s Knitting Circle (May 7, 10:30 a.m.) in which beginners or experts can participate in a free community of knitters; Hands-on History (Saturdays, 11 a.m.) in which people can inspect and handle items from the Great War; the WW1USA Amateur Radio Station (May 7-8, all day) where people can serve as guest operators and contact individuals throughout the world; a free program highlighting the recent achievements of Historic Kansas City (May 17, 6 p.m.); a free screening of the award-winning French film La Vie et rien d’autre in partnership with Alliance Francaise (May 20, 6 p.m.) and a free architectural walking tour of the Memorial (May 21, 1 p.m.).
May National World War I Museum and Memorial Events
- Every Wednesday: World War Wednesdays (all tickets $7)
- Every Thursday: Complimentary Tour, 2 p.m. (FREE with paid admission)
- Every Saturday: Hands-on History, 11 a.m. (FREE with paid admission)
- Friday, May 6: They Shall Not Pass | 1916 exhibition opens
- Saturday, May 7: Mrs. Wilson’s Knitting Circle, 10:30 a.m. (FREE with RSVP)
- Saturday, May 7: They Shall Not Pass: Anatomy of an Exhibition, 1 p.m. (FREE with RSVP)
- Saturday-Sunday, May 7-8: WW1USA Radio Station, All Day (FREE)
Wednesday, May 11: Springtime in Paris: Riots and Mayhem, 7 p.m. (FREE with RSVP)
- Tuesday, May 17: A Milestone in Collaboration for Preservation, Planning and Neighborhoods, 6 p.m. (FREE with RSVP)
- Thursday, May 19: Operation: Undressed, 7:30 p.m. (tickets $35 at theworldwar.org)
- Friday, May 20: Film Friday: La Vie et rien d’autre, 6 p.m. (FREE with RSVP)
- Saturday, May 21: Memorial Architecture Tour, 1 p.m. (FREE with RSVP)
- Friday-Monday, May 27-30: FREE admission for veterans/active duty military & half-price admission for the general public; activities throughout the weekend
About the National World War I Museum and Memorial
The National World War I 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 holds the most diverse 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 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 World War I 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.