Center for Pre-College Outreach

World War 1 & the Copper Country

World War 1 graphic

A community-wide commemoration of the Copper Country's involvement in the First World War

June-November 11, 2018  | Houghton/Hancock, MI

World War I & the Copper Country (WW1CC) is a community-wide commemoration of the Copper Country’s (Houghton, Keweenaw, Baraga, and Ontonagon counties) participation in the First World War. The project is a grant-supported collaboration of exhibits and events to be provided for free to the public from June 21 to November 11, 2018. This project’s partners include Michigan Technological University, the Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw, and Finlandia University.

A multifaceted cultural program commemorating the local experience of and participation in World War I, WW1CC brings together local and regional residents, students, veterans, academics, and historic preservation professionals interested in the U.P. Copper Country’s role in the Great War. Through a series of historical exhibits, lectures, discussions, film screenings, media installations, and performing and visual arts events, the program examines the integral part played by small town rural communities in the conflict, as well as the war’s social, economic, and cultural impacts and legacies on family and community life. In addition to raising awareness about the Great War’s significance as a geopolitical world event, we hope WW1CC’s program of exhibits and events will promote conversation and critical reflection on a wide range of discourses concerning war; for example, the nature and meaning of war, the human experience of war, war’s memory, community and wartime crisis, international conflict and resolution, and recovery and restoration in war’s aftermath.

Original research on local community records and artifacts (personal letters, scrapbooks, photos, art, newspaper clippings, military papers, and material objects, ephemera, etc.) will be exhibited at the Carnegie Museum of the Keweenaw, Finlandia University Finnish American Heritage Center, and the J.R. Van Pelt & Opie Library at Michigan Tech.

If you would like more information or want to schedule a school group visit, please contact Lauren Kirwin in the Center for Pre-College Outreach office at 906-487-2219. More information on exhibits and events can be found at

Featured Exhibits: 

Dug In: Experiential WWI Trench

September 24 – November 11, US41 and MacInnes Drive

An immersive outdoor trench exhibit invites the public to imagine how soldiers experienced life in the trenches, including “going over the top.” This project is headed by Drs. Stanley Vitton and Kris Mattila (Civil and Environmental Engineering), and it involves student and faculty participants from across campus. The exhibit showcases an actual winding trench dug several feet into the ground and spanning several yards on the campus green. The exhibit is multifaceted featuring an acoustical installation simulating the sounds of battle designed by Christopher Plummer and Sound Design students (Visual & Performing Arts); looped recordings of memorial poetry and selections from soldier memoirs; and informative signage conveying historical facts about trench structure and trench warfare. Prospective plans include a commemorative ceremony to fill in the trench on November 11, 2018 with the participation of local VFW and American Legion groups, ROTC, and JROTC.

Shell-shocked: Footage and Sounds of the Front AND American and French Propaganda Posters

September 7 – October 2, Rozsa Center for the Performing Arts Gallery

World War I was the first time graphic posters were widely used for a political cause. Countries around the world made use of the medium to foster patriotic support for specific needs such as enlistment, war financing, conservation, relief activities, and war-related public employment. Some iconic images came out of the U.S. campaign, for example, James Montgomery Flagg’s Uncle Sam and Alonzo Foringer’s Greatest Mother in the World for the American Red Cross. Dr. Hristova discusses the functions of such posters in representing broader contexts of changing social life.

SHELL-SHOCKED recreates the sensorium of battle at the western front, matching historic silent film footage to audio recreations of battlefield sounds. Featuring sound design by Christopher Plummer and Michigan Tech’s sound design students, this multimedia installation brings the horrific reality experienced by soldiers who fought in the war into sharp contrast with the patriotic rhetoric of AMERICAN AND FRENCH PROPAGANDA POSTERS.

American and French Propaganda Posters are on loan from the Marquette Regional History Center.