Visitors can also read actual letters received by families in South Bend, Mishawaka and other local communities. The heartfelt words of soldiers give perspectives on the tragedies of war, museum officials said.
Maps showing the countries of pre-war and post-war Europe serve as reminders of the changes brought by World War I.
Ten million people died. France alone lost two million. Germany lost 37 percent of its men between the ages of 19 and 22.
The war destroyed the goodwill, optimism and benevolence of European culture, museum officials said, and left a legacy of racial hatred that eventually led to World War II.
Entire nations lost respect for constitutional governments, and totalitarian regimes took over in Russia (1917), Italy (1922), Germany (1933), and Spain (1936), officials continued. The war’s end brought a cessation of fighting, but by 1940, all these nations were back at war.
The stories of “World War I: The War to End All Wars” are told through artifacts and photographs from the collections of the Center for History. Several items are on loan from Robert Dunn and other local residents, as well as the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, located in Kansas City, Mo.
Admission to the Center for History is free for members, $8 for adults, $6.50 for senior citizens, $5 for youth ages 6 to 17, and free for children ages 5 and younger, and includes visits to all galleries plus a guided tour of the 38-room Oliver Mansion, once home to J.D. Oliver, president of the Oliver Chilled Plow Works.
With a campus ticket, which is free for members, $12 for adults, $10 for senior citizens, $7 for youth ages 6 to 17, and free for those 5 and younger, visitors can also tour all three floors of exhibits at the adjoining Studebaker National Museum. The two museums make up The Museums at Washington and Chapin.
The Center for History is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. House tours are available Monday through Saturday at 11 a.m. and 1 and 2 p.m., and Sunday at 1 and 2:30 p.m.
For more information, call 574-235-9664.