“Where Do We Go From Here?” - America in the First World War

On April 6, 1917, the United States formally entered what came to be known as World War I.  This decision followed a presidential election in which keeping the nation out of the war was a major point of debate, and on which public opinion was divided.  Rapidly-changing global events, however, led the US to enter the war shortly after President Wilson was inaugurated for his second term.  By the time the war ended, nineteen months later, the global world order had dramatically shifted, and decisions made one hundred years ago are still having an impact on our world today.

From April of 2017, through November of 2018, the Arvada Center will be commemorating the period of our nation’s involvement in World War I.  We will be looking at the war through the lens of the arts and the humanities, and programming will include art exhibitions, poetry readings, concerts, book discussion groups, theatrical presentations, lectures, panel discussions, a film series, and more.

The Arvada Center is serving as the lead for statewide events commemorating the war, and events will be held not only in our building, but at locations throughout the State of Colorado. We are partnering with organizations in the Denver metro area and beyond, and our plans are being coordinated with the United States World War One Centennial Commission, the official federal entity charged with organizing commemorative events nationwide.

The Arvada Center is proud to partner with the following organizations and individuals on this major project:

Castle Rock Museum
High Plains Library District- Centennial Park Branch Library (Greeley)
City of Arvada
Colorado Humanities
William Convery, former Colorado State Historian
Denver Film Society
Golden Library
Hayden Museum
Joe Hutchison, Colorado Poet Laureate
Lafayette Library
Lighthouse Writers Workshop
Loveland Library
Metropolitan State University
Money Museum/American Numismatic Association (Colorado Springs)
Platteville Library
Red Rocks Community College

Regis University (Center for the Study of War Experience)

University of Denver- University College

United States World War One Centennial Commission

Read more about Colorado’s involvement in the First World War and find out more about events happening to commemorate its centennial on the World War I Centennial Colorado page.

Submit your Artifacts and/or Oral Histories for an exhibition at the Arvada Center

The Arvada Center seeks community participation for an exhibition to be on display from August 18 – November 17, 2017 in the History Museum located at the Arvada Center. To commemorate the centennial of America’s involvement in World War One, we are seeking artifacts for temporary loan as well as stories or oral histories. Help us tell the local story of The Great War.

If you have artifacts or stories to tell, please download the form "Arvada Center Artifact Submissions" that includes some helpful tips for gathering relevant information. Once you have gone over the checklist and are confident that you would be interested in participating, please fill out the online form. YOU ARE NOT ABLE TO SAVE YOUR WORK ON THE ONLINE FORM, so going over the checklist will prepare you to complete the form in one sitting.

Please note that you are submitting your artifact or story for consideration only, we will not be able to accept and exhibit all submissions for a variety of reasons such as space constraints, fragility, similarity of items, etc. Submission does not guarantee exhibition or inclusion. 



Trenches to Treaties: World War I Remembrance
Presented by Money Museum/American Numismatic Association

Opens May 18, 2017
ANA Money Museum, Colorado Springs
Admission: $5

This exhibition explores the history of World War I as seen through money and medals, and will feature a replica trench as well as other interactive elements highlighting the impact of the war on the people at that time.

Buffalo Soldiers of WWI
Presented by Buffalo Solders of the American West

Thursday, May 18, 2017
 7:00 -8:00 pm
Arvada Center, Studio 11
Admission:  Free

Our nation’s development is marked with a rich tapestry woven with the diligent work of many diverse ethnic groups. Contributions of people of color are often omitted, making our nation’s story less than complete. This presentation on African Americans’ participation in World War I is meant to enhance and complete the story of that era.

Writing from the Trenches: War in Fiction
Writers Workshop
Offered by the Arvada Center Education & Humanities Program
Taught by Rebecca Salomonsson

Saturday, May 20 – 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
Arvada Center, Room 21A
Admission: $30

Using on some of our most beloved and well-known works of war-time fiction including All Quiet on the Western Front, The Red Badge of Courage, and The Things They Carried participants will be invited to write their own war stories. Whether you are a Veteran with a story to tell, a writer who wants to try your hand at a new genre, or someone who simply enjoys a good war story, you will examine effective storytelling techniques and use prompts as leaping off points to create works of your own. All levels welcome. Call the Arvada Center to register

Rebecca Salomonsson is a Colorado playwright and fiction writer. Many of her plays have appeared in the Arvada Center Black Box Theatre as performed by young actors. Her one-act play “Oh Night Divine” was produced by Foothills Theatre Company in 2012 and her play “Outrageous Fortune” has received productions with several theatre companies in the United States and Canada. She has taught creative writing workshops for the Arvada Center, Foothills Parks and Recreation, Lighthouse Writers Workshop, and the Aurora Fox.

World War I Book Clubs
April – May, 2017
One Of Ours
By Willa Cather

One of Ours is Willa Cather's 1923 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about the making of an American soldier.  Claude Wheeler, the sensitive, restless, and unhappy protagonist, has ready access to his family's fortune, but he refuses to settle for it.  Alienated from his uncaring father and pious mother, and rejected by a wife whose only love is missionary work, Claude is an idealist without ideals to cling to.  When the United States enter the Great War in 1917, Claude enlists in the army where he finds purpose and meaning in his life."

The first in a series of WWI reading groups will begin in April and May at several libraries and museums throughout Colorado.

Participating libraries and museums include:

Castle Rock Museum: May 11, 7:00 - 8:30 pm. Contact: Jim Hansman 303-814-3164
Golden Library - June 18, 12:00 - 1:30 pm. Contact: Stephanie Douglas 303-235-5275
Hayden Museum- May 18, 6:00 - 7:30 pm. Contact: Laurel Watson 970-276-4380
Lafayette Library- May 25, 6:00 - 7:30 pm. Contact: Karen Andrews 303-665-5200
Loveland Library - May 25, 6:00 - 7:30 pm. Contact:Dr. Amy Philips 970-962-2589                                       Longmont Library- May 10, 7:00 - 8:30 pm. Contact: Barbara Walters 303-651-8785                                                    High Plains Library District- Centennial Park Branch Library, Greeley- May 10, 6:00 - 7:30 pm                                              Contact: Khristine Gamer 970-506-8600                                                                                                    Platteville Library- April. Contact: Naomi Nguyen, nnguyen@highplains.us