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National World War I Museum

National World War I Museum

Location: Kansas City, Missouri

Upon entering the National World War I Museum, visitors walk across a glass bridge over a field of poppies into the Orientation Theater. World on the Edge introduces visitors to the convergence of forces that unleashed the Great War. Leading World War I historian John Keegan cites the film as “the best existing dramatic portrayal of the causes of this cataclysmic event.” Gallery videos illuminate specific facets of the story; audio experiences bring the soldiers’ experiences to life in recreated battlefield environments; and audio stations offer opportunities to “listen in” to poetry, spoken word, and music of the period. Midway through the chronological flow of exhibits, visitors encounter Horizon Theater, a dramatic 100-foot-long video projection that forms the backdrop for a full-scale World War I tableau activated by theatrical lighting, video projections and an immersive soundtrack. This stunning multi-media attraction engages visitors in the turning-point moment when the United States was faced with the decision whether to enter World War I. The show portrays the devastating stalemate along the 200-mile Western Front that locked Europe in deadly combat for years, as well as the factors that led to America’s involvement in a war that would dramatically affect the country’s direction from that point forward.