Walking into the World War I exhibit at the Kentucky Gateway Museum Center in Maysville transports viewers to what it may have been like to serve in the military during the war.

As the door opens to the gallery, the first thing one may notice is the large trench sitting to the left. There are soldiers boots and weapons sitting in front of the bags. On the inside of the trench are small pieces of paper that gives information about what it was like to serve in the trenches during the war.

One sheet talks about trench foot, which is caused by feet being in a damp, cold area for too long. According to healthline.com, it is estimated that 2,000 Americans died from trench foot during the war.

Before reaching the trench, however, guests will noticed markings along the wall that start with 1914 and end with 1920. The markings are a timeline of the war from beginning to end.

The United States did not enter the war until 1917.

"We're excited about the timeline exhibit. We decided to put this together because this marks the 100th anniversary of the United State's entry into World War I," KYGMC Executive Director CJ Hunter said.

"As you look around, you see items from museum sources and several other sources," he said. "Tandy Nash is the one who put this exhibit together for us. Most of the uniforms in here are ours, but we do have uniforms from other sources."

According to Hunter, the exhibit features no replicas.

"This was produced through the efforts of several people who loaned items for us," he said. "Everything is real. We wanted to give everyone an idea of what it looked like to have lived and served during that time."

Some of the other exhibits in the room included a war nurse's uniform, photographs, lists of those drafted from Mason County, featuring 429 names, a sitting room, ships and planes and other items.

KYGMC Curator Sue Ellen Grannis talked about the plane miniatures and why the soldier's wore scarves around their necks.

"They wore them because the tops of their wool uniforms were killing their necks and they couldn't turn their heads without it scratching them, so they wore the scarves for comfort."

"It wasn't a fashion statement," Hunter said.

In the exhibit, there is also a large horse, with a soldier's boots sitting next to it.

"This was the last major war fought where horses were used," Hunter said. "A lot of people, when they think of World War I, they don't think about the horses, but they were important to the soldiers."

Also in the museum is a picture of Leslie Arthur, who was from May's Lick. Near his photograph is a letter from the government, informing his parents of his death.

"He was the first Mason Countian that was lost in the war," Hunter said. "Here is the telegraph informing his parents, the funeral information."

Continuing on, there are photos of soldiers and horses with gas masks.

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"Not only did the gas kill soldiers, but it could also kill the horses," he said. "Here you can see the horses were also wearing coverings."

One of the final stops on the timeline is a replica of a sitting area that would have been seen in many homes during the time.

"This is where a mother might have sat to write a letter to her son," he said.

According to Hunter, before the exhibit closes, a miniature of Catherine's Palace will be moved into the exhibit.

"During the war, the Russian Czar and Czarina were assassinated," he said. "It was the turning point for Russia during the war."

Hunter said the museum was fortunate to have the exhibits.

"We were very fortunate to have much of this in our collection, and to have the other sources lending us pieces for the exhibit," he said.

There are several other pieces, including pictures and information in the hallway and in other galleries at the museum center.

The exhibit opened this week and will remain open until Nov. 11, which is Veteran's Day.


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