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In Conversation With… Doran Cart at the National World War I Museum and Memorial

Posted  21 April 2017 in News  
By Pamela Linden
Image from 'Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: The Doughboys, 1917-1918'. 
Lost Battalion - Argonne: This is a steep valley to the west of Apremont where between Oct 2-7th 1918 soldiers of the US 77th Div were cut off from their comrades. Caught in a narrow valley they were totally surrounded but finally managed to fight their way out.

The Argonne Massif is a narrow 12km wide band of hills rising steeply to the west of the Meuse valley. For four years of bitter fighting the front line ran east-west across these hills until the American offensive here in the autumn of 1918 which was a major test for the American army for many of whose troops this was their first real experience of battle.

In this month’s First World War Centenary Partnerhsip ‘In Conversation With’ we speak to Doran Cart, Senior Curator of the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, USA.

Tell us about your role in your organization.

As Senior Curator of the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, Missouri, I am the keeper of the collection. I also put the exhibitions together and serve as institutional historian. Along with Mike Sheil, I was the curator of Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: The Doughboys 1917-1918.

Left to right: Mike Sheil (Photographer), Dr Matthew Naylor (President and CEO National WWI Museum and Memorial), Doran Cart (Senior Archivist)

Left to right: Mike Sheil (Photographer), Dr Matthew Naylor (President and CEO National WWI Museum and Memorial), Doran Cart (Senior Archivist)

What are your organization’s plans for the centenary?

We started planning for the centenary of World War I in 2012 with programs and special exhibitions. The first centenary exhibition was Road to War, 1904-1914 and the exhibitions continue through 2019 with Remembrance and Memorials. The first program was an international forum on the years of 1914-1919 held at the Museum in 2013. On June 28, 2014, we marked the 100th Anniversary of the Sarajevo Assassination and on April 6, the national ceremony of the United States commemorating American entry into World War I was held here at the Museum.

What do you want people to know about the First World War and why?

As the national museum of WWI of the United States as well as a global history museum of all the nations in the war, we want people to understand the history of the war through the exhibitions, social media and programs as well as its enduring impact.

Doran Cart

What does the First World War Centenary Partnership mean to you?

The partnership has been significant for the Museum as a means to bring exposure to people who might otherwise not have been familiar with the organization. In 2016, the Museum welcomed visitors from more than 70 countries, many of whom were surprised to find that the most comprehensive collection of World War I objects in the world is here in the United States at the Museum. We believe the partnership has played a role in encouraging people from across the world to visit America’s official WWI museum and memorial.

What does the centenary mean to you?

As the Senior Curator of the National World War I Museum and Memorial and having been here for 27 years, it has been my honor to represent the Museum during this time as well as to be well-regarded as a noted person with respect to the material culture of WWI. While anniversaries can solely mark longevity, they also can provide us with the opportunity to reflect on the people who were involved in the war and to contemplate their lasting legacies.

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