World War I exhibition opens at Fairfield Museum

How did government-sponsored messages about World War I affect those who lived through it? The federal government used posters, publicity campaigns, and censorship of critical viewpoints to inspire support and sacrifice on the home front as well as the military front. The Fairfield Museum’s newest exhibition explores these messages and how they influenced people in the Fairfield and Bridgeport area, where war-time manufacturing made the city into a boom town.

Uncle Sam Wants You: Fairfield in the Great War opens on the evening of Thursday, Sept. 28 with a special “Museum After Dark” event at 6 p.m. A reception will begin at 6 and the presentation, featuring local perspectives on WWI, will start at 6:30. The discussion of “Connecticut and WWI” will be led by Dr. Elizabeth Rose, Fairfield Museum Library Director and panelists will include Cecelia Bucki of Fairfield University, historian and author Michael Bielawa, and Jennifer P. McLaughlin of Sacred Heart University. Free for members and $5 for nonmembers.

Highlights of the WWI exhibition include wartime posters, photographs newspapers, letters, uniforms and memorabilia from people from Fairfield who served “over there” and on the home front. Visitors can examine posters and broadsides for local patriotic rallies, calling on citizens to purchase Liberty Bonds, volunteer for overseas service, or conserve food for the war effort. Also on view are letters and journal entries from locals like Theodore Burr, who volunteered at the age of 17, enlisting in the Coast Artillery Corps in 1917. He wrote, “January 25, 1918, Blois, France: I get the blues but most of the time I keep feeling human…When I get my mail coming through good, and get my pay, so that I can get some real good cooked food I’ll be nearly all set. The only thing missing then will be Fairfield and home.”

The exhibition will remain on view at the Fairfield Museum, 370 Beach Road, through Jan. 21, daily from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Visit Fairfieldhistory.org for more information.

This 1915 poster by Wallace Robinson depicts canines in the uniforms of England, Germany, France and Russia with a bull terrier in the center wrapped in an American flag instead of a uniform, declaring neutrality and strength.

This 1915 poster by Wallace Robinson depicts canines in the uniforms of England, Germany, France and Russia with a bull terrier in the center wrapped in an American flag instead of a uniform, declaring neutrality and strength.

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