RENO — The public is invited to a free one-day-only chance to visit a traveling collection of World War I artifacts from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today fat the Nevada Museum of Art (NMA).
“Honoring Our history” is a traveling WWI exhibition designed to honor veterans and raise money and awareness for cultural institutions as it travels to 75 cities across the country. Reno is the 39th stop.
As the world nears the 100th anniversary of WWI, and movie producers continue to find the subject matter interesting, the public’s interest has been piqued, said Patrick Gaskill, exhibit spokesman and managing principal for Waddell & Reed.
“With the movie ‘War Horse’ out, people are more interested in World War 1,” Gaskill said.
The last stop in Napa, Calif., drew 1,000 visitors, Gaskill said.
Attendees can stop first to watch a short video presentation about the “War to End All Wars.” Then, they can walk inside for the tour of artifacts. In all, a visit to the exhibit should take less than an hour.
Walking through the mobile exhibit, visitors can touch a wall of a trench and experience the sights and sounds of trench warfare. Surrounding them, visitors will find walls inscribed with memories of soldiers, and explanations about how women volunteered and later sought the right to vote. They will also find war guns, helmets, gas masks, medical equipment, flight gear, log books, flags and numerous memorabilia.
In all, the exhibit houses 66 artifacts.
The driver of the exhibit, who has taken it from city to city across America, is Jimmy Bodle.
“The reaction I get is appreciation for Waddell & Reed,” Bodle said. “People come in and say, ‘Wow, that really was a gruesome war. We really went through some hard times.’”
Bodle has seen thousands of visitors in the many weeks of daily stopovers, he said. Many have shared stories of their grandparents or family members who had seen action during the war.
“A lot of people were crying,” Bodle said. “It’s pretty touching. People come out with a lot more knowledge of what war was really about. It’s very educational.”
One section of the exhibit is dedicated strictly to women. A placard describes the volunteer jobs women held during the war, as they weren’t paid for their service. Inside the glass case, a small dark-blue uniform hangs next to a medic’s cot.
“Women didn’t have enough uniforms to go to war,” Bodle said.
The rolling museum was created by Waddell & Reed to celebrate the corporation’s 75th anniversary. Waddell & Reed worked in partnership with the National World War I Museum, the first and only museum of its kind to be designated by Congress, located in Kansas City, Mo.
The two founders of Waddell & Reed, Chauncey Waddell and Cameron Reed, were veterans of the war and formed a partnership in 1937 to create the mutual fund and financial planning company. Their war artifacts are part of the exhibit, including Waddell’s full flight suit and log book.
The exhibit is set up in the parking lot of the Nevada Museum of Art at 160 W. Liberty St. in Reno. Admission is free but donations are appreciated. The rolling exhibit is funded mainly through donations. Any money generated is split, with half going to the exhibit and half going to Nevada Museum of Art.
For more information about the exhibit, visit www.honoringourhistory.com.