By Jeffrey Byrne
President + CEO
Note: Jeffrey Byrne + Associates, Inc. was pleased to serve as the fundraising consultant to the National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial from 2000 through 2004 during the time of the renovation and expansion of its museum.
History teaches us lessons all of the time. I am reminded of this when I visit a museum and interact with the exhibits and displays that depict a certain part of time that has long since past, but the roots remain relevant today. Liberty Memorial: case in point.
The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial is beginning to celebrate a series of 100-year anniversaries that commenced this month — with the start of the war to end all wars. With the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand in 1914, millions of lives were changed forever, along with the world as we knew it then and today.
The Liberty Memorial is beginning a three-year awareness effort in marking key points in time of anniversaries and moments that helped define this period of history. The Museum hopes to touch 1 million young people by helping them learn and think about World War I: curricula for teachers in classroom studies, award competitions, using the research center to build an Internet platform to learn about ancestors who served in the war and even possibly video games…the opportunities seem endless.
These activities and celebrations are taking place due to a generation of people beforehand who had the wisdom and vision to build a repository where visitors and researchers could access this vast collection of archives and memorabilia. Because of Kansas Citians in 1919 who raised $2,500,000 to create the Liberty Memorial and because of citizens in the mid-1990’s and early-2000’s who voted on bond issues and raised millions more to renovate and expand a museum for the Liberty Memorial, today’s experience is rich in history and expansive in vision for the future. Their efforts will help make sure this time is kept relevant for generations to come.
Congratulations to the Liberty Memorial for the start of its 100th anniversary and activities. Stay tuned over the next few years, as interest gains momentum and peaks in 2017 as the centenary of the U.S. entry into the war, and as commemoration turns to celebration in 2018 with the anniversary of the armistice.
Click here to read an article about The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial which appeared in The Kansas City Star on January 10, 2014.