“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

The Anti War Movement in the United States                                                                                                 Presented by Dr. Michael Kazin                                                                                                                             Dr. Kazin is a professor of history at Georgetown University.  He is the author most recently of War Against War: The American Fight for Peace, 1914-1918 (2017), as well as American Dreamers: How the Left Changed a Nation (2011) and A Godly Hero:  The Life of William Jennings Bryan (2006), and a coeditor of Americanism:  New Perspectives on the History of an ideal (2006).  He is the editor-in-chief of the two-volume Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History (2010) and also serves as the editor of Dissent magazine and an online columnist for the New Republic.  


Friday, September 22, 2017 - 7:00 pm                                                                                                                        A reception will follow                                                                                                                                              Regis University, Mountain View Room, Claver Hall                                                                                          Admission: Free 


World War I Speakers 

Thursday, September 14, 2017 7:00 - 8: 00 pm Presentation by Susan Talbot Stanaway 

World War One Posters: For the Hearts and Minds of Ordinary People

President Woodrow Wilson's re-election campaign song in 1916 was entitled "Elect Wilson, He Kept Us Out of War". However on April 6,1917, at Wilson's urging, the United States Congress declared  war against Germany. Only a few hours later, one of Wilson's most energetic campaign backers, George Creel, urged Wilson to develop means to engage the war on the home front through "expression, not suppression". The objestives were to unify people of all ages and backgrounds, including millions of immigrants, to motivate young men to enlist and women to abandon their traditional roles and become war workers. This presentation will desribe posters which were a part of these efforts as works of art and propaganda, the artists who created them, how posters established new American heroes and heroines, and their lasting importance in national history.    


World War I Speakers Series - Chautauqua Performances

Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017- 9:00-10:30 am                                                                                                         Emma Goldman by Sally Drucker                                                                                                                           Red Rocks Community College, Lakewood Campus, The Den                                                                        Admission: Free 

Thursday, Sept. 21, 2017- 12:30 - 2:00 pm                                                                                                      Debate- Emma Goldman by Sally Drucker and Eugene Debs by James Walsh - Moderated Debate                Metropolitan State University, Tivoli Student Union, Roger Braun Multi-Cultural Event Lounge                                     Admission: Free

 Friday, Sept. 22, 2017- 4:00 – 5:30 pm                                                                                                              Debate- Emma Goldman by Sally Drucker and Eugene Debs by James Walsh  - Moderated Debate                Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Arvada History Museum                                                                      Admission: Free

 Emma Goldman Portrayed by Sally Drucker

Emma Goldman was an anarchist and labor organizer known for her political activism, writing, and speeches. In 1917, Goldman and a companion were sentenced to two years in jail for conspiring to "induce persons not to register" for the newly instated draft. After their release from prison, they were deported—along with hundreds of others—to the Soviet Union.

Eugene Debs Portrayed by James Walsh

Eugene Debs was an activist who worked in the labor movement in the early 1900s, traveling around the nation giving talks to workers, etc.  In his outspoken views he suggested that wars are fought for the rich at the expense of the poor.  His resistance to WWI ended with imprisonment under the Sedition and Espionage Act.

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, Roger Braun Multi-Cultural Event Lounge                                      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 

 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.


World War I Book Clubs

August– September, 2017
All Quiet on the Western Front 
By Erich Maria Remarque 

The second in a series of WWI reading groups will be in August and September at several libraries and museums throughout Colorado. You may get the book from the library to read prior to attending the discussion. The discussions are scholar facilitated. 

Participating libraries and museums include:

-Lakewood Heritage Center: Aug. 3, 4:00 - 5:30 pm. Contact: Katy Lewis 303-987-7879                                             -Platteville Library- Pioneers Museum: Aug. 7, 10:00- 11:30 am. Contact: Naomi Nguyen 970-785-2231                    -Longmont Library- Aug. 9, 7:00 - 8:30 pm. Contact: Barbara Walter 303-651-8785                                                     -High Plains Library District- Centennial Park Branch Library, Greeley- Aug 9, 6:00 - 8:00 pm                                               Contact: Khristine Gamer 970-506-8600                                                                                                               -Lafayette Library- Aug. 10, 6:00 - 7:30 pm. Contact: Karen Andrews 303-665-5200                                                     -Denver Public Library- Central Branch, 10th Mountain Div. Room, Aug. 15, 6:30- 8:00 pm                                          Contact: Laurie Spurling Librarian, Books and Borrowing                                                                                             -Golden History Museum - Aug. 16, 1:30 - 3:00 pm. Contact: Megan Murphy 303-278-3557                                        -Loveland Library - Aug 16, 6:30 - 7:30 pm. Contact:Dr. Amy Philips 970-962-2589                                                      -Hayden Heritage Center- Sept. 11, 1:00 - 2:00 pm. Contact: Laurel Watson 970-276-4380    

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.