PHI Intern Matthew Culver Works with Gorgas House to Create Exhibit on Centennial of US Entry into WW I

By Matthew Culver

This image shows the emblem of the 167th Infantry Regiment, an Alabama National Guard unit that served in France during WW I.
Coat of Arms of the 167th Infantry Regiment, an Alabama National Guard unit.
Courtesy of the US Army Institute of Heraldry

For the spring of 2017 I am working with the Gorgas House Museum to curate and display an exhibit commemorating the 100th anniversary of American entry into the First World War. I chose this internship to compliment my prior experience in military museums, as well as have the opportunity to serve in a “leadership” capacity during exhibit curation, which will afford me invaluable experience in the curation process.

I picked the subject of WWI based on my prior experience of working with US Army museums, particularly research pertaining to the World Wars. Normally my focus has centered around logistics, and this internship is allowing me to expand on military operations, considering medical work as well as combat roles, and of course more logistics. By the end of the semester, I hope to have successfully curated and exhibited an intriguing collection of macro artifacts, photographs and documentation telling the story of the University, the state of Alabama, and the United States at war. I hope to gain firsthand experience in curation that I can carry forward into a potential museum career.

The Gorgas House hopes to provide a valuable source of education into the role of Major General William Crawford Gorgas, the University, and the state of Alabama’s contribution to the First World War, highlighting a period of history that is quickly fading from public memory.