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Salem Museum Looks Back at WWI and WWII With Special Exhibits and Activities

Just before Veterans Day—the 100th anniversary of the WWI Armistice—the Salem Museum will host an interactive WWI and WWII traveling exhibition, a virtual reality exploration of WWI tunnels in France,  and a Library of Virginia digitalization project.

The traveling exhibit, the Virginia WWI and WWII Profiles of Honor Tour, and the digitalization project will take place on November 2-3, 10 am to 4 pm.

The Salem Museum’s featured WWI exhibit, The Price We Paid: Salem and the Great War, and the virtual reality experience, If This Place Could Talk: the Destroyed Village of Vauquois, will continue through February. These events are free and open to the public, but group rates apply for guided tours. Check the Museum’s website or call ahead for dates that the virtual reality experience will be offered.

The Virginia WWI and WWII Profiles of Honor Tour is a mobile museum, which features stories and artifacts from dozens of Virginians who served in World War I and World War II, as well as a full-scale model of an M5A1 Stuart tank. The tour, which brings to life Virginia’s integral role in world history, is part of a statewide commemoration marking the 100th anniversary of World War I and the 75th anniversary of World War II. The tour will be at the Salem Museum on November 2-3.

The Profiles of Honor tour will also bring document scanning equipment from the Library of Virginia. On November 2-3, visitors are invited to bring World War I and World War II-related images, letters, and documents to be scanned, preserved, and made publically accessible in the Library of Virginia’s archives.

The virtual reality experience, If This Place Could Talk: the Destroyed Village of Vauquois, is a project of Virginia Tech’s Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology (ICAT) which involved team members from the School of Education, the School of Visual Arts, University Libraries, the Department of History, and the Department of Mining Engineering.

The team explored and mapped actual WWI tunnels constructed by French and German soldiers beneath the village of Vauquois, near Verdun, France. The immersive experience will take visitors into those tunnels to impart a sense of what life was like for the soldiers who were part of that terrible period in world history. The experience will debut at the Salem Museum on November 2-3 and will be ongoing through February, 2019. Call ahead for availability.

A century ago, Salem, like other communities, was shaken by the world’s Great War—WWI—and called to sacrifice on the battlefield and home front. The Salem Museum’s current featured exhibit, The Price We Paid: Salem and the Great War includes displays of artifacts on loan from the collection of Dr. Lee Anthony whose father served in WWI.

A short film, Till I Come Home directed by Chloe Shelton of the Grandin Theatre Film Lab, provides insights into the wartime experience of an actual Salem soldier through his letters home. The film and exhibit are generously supported by John M. Oakey & Son Funeral Home and Crematory in Salem and will be on display through February, 2019.

The Profiles of Honor tour honors Virginians who fought for our freedom,” said Delegate M. Kirkland Cox, chairman of the Virginia WWI and WWII Commemoration Commission. “Both wars were fought not only overseas, but from the shipyards, factories, military bases, and homes of Virginians.” The Profiles of Honor tour is managed in partnership with the Virginia Tourism Corporation and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. For more information about the Profiles of Honor tour, visit VirginiaWorldWarII.org.

If This Place Could Talk: the Destroyed Village of Vauquois project was funded through the generous support of the Virginia Tech Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology. Virginia Tech Team: Todd Ogle, University Libraries, Project lead;  Zach Duer, Thomas Tucker, and Dongsoo Choi, School of Visual Arts; David Hicks, School of Education; Doug Bowman and Run Yu, Computer Science; Patty Raun, School of Performing Arts; Hervé Marand, Department of Chemistry; David Cline, History Department; Erik Westman, Mining and Minerals Engineering; Tanner Upthegrove, Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology. French Partners: Yves Massotte: Amis de Vauquois (Stewards of the Hill of Vauquois); Celine Beauchamp and Adrien Arles: Arkemine (Rescue Archeology). Transdisciplinary Virginia Tech Student Team:  Maureen Suess, Scott Saverot, Huy Ngo, Phat Nguyen, Zach Bush, Matthew Yourshaw, Alex Forlini, Brennan Young, Nick Wyers, and Daniel Newcomb.

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