Advertising War: Selling Americans on World War I

Detail of Unlce Sam poster

Before the advent of radio and motion pictures, art and illustration were the primary forms of mass communication. With the outbreak of World War I, governments, militaries, and service organizations hired artists and illustrators to depict the ravages of war and to rally patriotism. Poster imagery created before and during American military participation was used to mobilize citizens to enlist, give aid to refugees and soldiers, and motivate any and all people to join the fight through rationing, buying bonds, or charity work. The selection of images on display provided glimpses of the war front, illustrated participation on the home front, revealed the new roles of women, demonstrated new technologies, showed the breadth of military service, and depicted America’s allies and enemies at that time.

About the Artifact Walls

Artifact walls, consisting of 275 linear feet of glass-fronted cases lining the central first and second floors, highlight the depth and breadth of the collections. They reflect the Museum's core mission to collect, study, and exhibit objects from our nation's rich and diverse history. This display is one of the special cases that highlight anniversaries, views into the collections, and research findings.