This spring marks the 100th anniversary of America’s entry into World War I, known as the “war to end all wars.” On April 6, 1917, Congress, at the request of President Wilson, declared war on Germany and then on Austria-Hungary. In October 1918, while the war raged on overseas, Camp Benning was established as a training center for Army units. Both World War I and Camp Benning— which became Fort Benning in 1922—had a significant impact on life in the Chattahoochee Valley. The Museum’s upcoming exhibition, From Flying Aces to Army Boots: World War I and the Chattahoochee Valley, explores the Great War and Fort Benning in the context of its effect on this region. In addition to artifacts from public and private collections, the exhibition includes a site-specific installation by Danielle Frankenthal that features paintings and sculpture inspired by World War I.
As part of the programming for From Flying Aces to Army Boots: World War I and the Chattahoochee Valley, the Museum will hold the annual Rothschild Distinguished Speaker Series Lecture on March 14. Dr. Jennifer Keene, professor and chair of the Department of History at Chapman University in Orange, California, will present the free talk:“ ‘A War for Democracy?’: The Experience of African Americans and Women in World War I.” I hope you will plan to join us for the reception and presentation.
Please also plan to join us for the Museum’s annual fundraiser, Let There Be Art!, April 6-13. This year’s benefit gala will be held Thursday, April 6; the event offers the first opportunity to purchase art while enjoying live entertainment, gourmet cuisine, and festive decorations by the talented Bob Vardaman. I am pleased to report that the popular 10”x10” Art for education section will be back! At the conclusion of Let There Be Art!, Rebecca Wood, of R. Wood Studios in Athens, Georgia, will give a presentation at a special luncheon, April 13. Wood has one of the country’s largest pottery studios and participates in the blog Beauty Everyday. More information about Let There Be Art! is available in this edition of The Muse. We are pleased to partner with Columbus State University’s Department of Art again on an exhibition: work by photographer Raymond McCrea Jones reveals the transformation of recruits into the U.S. Army Delta Company 2/47 during boot camp at Fort Benning. Birth of a Warrior will be exhibited in the Woodruff Works on Paper Gallery through March 26. Also on view this spring will be The Games: Ancient Olympia to Georgia, an exhibition organized by Atlanta’s Millennium Gate Museum that will be presented in the Galleria cases through May 14. On Tuesday, May 16, the Museum will hold the annual members’ meeting, when we review the past year and ask you, our members, to elect new trustees to the Board. If you have not attended an annual meeting before, why not join us this year? It is a wonderful time to make your thoughts known and to meet members of the Board and staff, and your fellow members. A reception will follow.
With the many exhibitions, programs, and special events coming this spring, including the continuation of the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of Carson McCullers, I hope you will find many reasons to visit The Columbus Museum often!