“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. 


World War I National Speaker Presentations

Americans at War: Experiencing World War I  (MSU Denver and Farr Library)                                                     The African American Experience in World War I (Regis University)                                                            Presented by Dr. Jennifer Keene                                                                                                                        

Dr. Keene is a professor of history and the Chair of the history department at Chapman University.  A specialist in the American experience during World War I, she has written several books on the war including World War I: The American Soldier Experience, Doughboys, The Great War and The Remaking of America. c.  

Thursday, October 19, 2017 3:30 pm                                                                                                                          Metro State University, Tivoli Student Union, Room 320                                                                                                Admission: Free                                                                                                  

Friday, October 20, 2017 - 3:30 pm                                                                                                                          Regis University, Mountain View Room, Claver Hall                                                                                          Admission: Free 

Saturday, October 21, 2017 - 1:00 pm                                                                                                                        Farr Library, Greeley CO                                                                           

World War I Speakers Series - Chautauqua Performances

Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017- 10:30 am – 12:00 pm                                                                                                    W.E.B. Dubois by Charles Pace                                                                                                                             Red Rocks Community College, Lakewood Campus The Den                                                                        Admission: Free

 Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017- 2:00 - 3:30 pm                                                                                                             W.E.B. Dubois by Charles Pace                                                                                                                           Metropolitan State University, Tivoli Student Union, Room 444                                                                          Admission: Free

 Friday, Oct. 27, 2017- 4:00 - 5:30 pm                                                                                                                           W.E.B. Dubois by Charles Pace                                                                                                                        Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Arvada History Museum                                                                            Admission: Free 

Saturday, Oct. 28,  2017 - 1:00 - 2:30 pm                                                                                                                    Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library, 2401 Welton St., Denver                                                               Admission: Free  

 W.E.B. Dubois Portrayed by Charles Pace

W.E.B DuBois was a noted African American sociologist and editor of the NAACP journal, The Crisis. The scholar and civil rights activists supported efforts to establish a specialized U.S. Army training camp for African American officer candidates. DuBois encouraged African Americans to serve in the military, despite entrenched racism and disagreements among African Americans about participation in what was considered a “white man's war.” Du Bois traveled to Europe in 1919 to attend the first Pan-African Congress and to interview African American soldiers for a book on their war experiences.

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.