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‘Lest We Forget’

By Staff | May 25, 2018

The Prairie Village Museum in Rugby opened “Lest We Forget, 100 Years of WWI” last weekend.

A new WWI exhibit opened at The Prairie Village Museum in Rugby this weekend. The grand opening hosted a unique collection of World War I items called “Lest We Forget, 100 Years of WWI.”

This exhibit has features consisting of everything from rifles and pistols used in the war, to an actual uniform that the museum has preserved and looks like new, to newspaper and magazine articles from that time period and signs that were common during the war including “Save a loaf a week. Help win the war.”

There was a large turnout on a beautiful Sunday afternoon for the museum. The air was filled with BBQ smells as the grill was heated up and smoking. Hamburgers and all the trimmings were free with the price of admission. In the afternoon, entertainers sang and provided music.

“We often don’t think about our local people, here, who played a role in an international conflict, on a global stage,” told Stephanie Steinke, Prairie Village Museum executive director.

“It’s a wonderful day for the museum with the addition of this new exhibit. This is the 100-year anniversary of the end of the war, and the museum holds a piece of North Dakota history,” said Jacob Bilkre from Maddock. “I like the pistols and rifle display the best.”

A slightly humorous sign now, but serious back in the 1917 & 1918s was a sign that says, “To Dress Extravagantly in war time is worse than bad form, it is unpatriotic.”

In 1918 a local Rugby soldier, L Piccard, was reported to his family as missing in action, as identified in a Pierce County Tribune article dated August, 1917. Below that notification in the paper, was a letter home to his parents telling them that yes he had been shot, but he was in the hospital and doing well. He acknowledged in that letter home that he worried about them being scared for him.

During WWI, a communication forum called the Four Minute Man was utilized. This concept was used for communicating across the country. Video clips would be taken of the news as was known at that day, and these videos would be distributed by mail, by messengers and hand driven across the country via meeting halls, movie theaters, and anywhere the public could convene to hear the news. People would huddle around the radio to listen. The video clip was only four minutes in length.

Rugby’s own Lyric theater was the meeting place in Pierce County. People would gather to listen to the video clips correspondents and journalists would make.

The museum also features a list of soldier’s names who died locally during WWI. It hangs on the wall, a sad reminder of the lives lost so long ago.

“Thank you to the American Legion Post #23 who made this exhibit possible for the Prairie Village Museum,” Steinke said.

The WWI exhibit will be available the entire 2018 season.

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