UMary students work to bring the Great War to life

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BISMARCK, ND - Students from the University of Mary and the Heritage Center are working together to highlight North Dakota's involvement in World War One.

A hundred years ago World War One raged. A war that affected the lives of millions around the world, including draftees and volunteers from North Dakota. These students are studying this war and working on a way to present it to the public.

"The Heritage Center is theirs and we just take care of the stuff. So part of the idea that Dr. Stuart and I had was that if you are going to be a historian, if you are studying to be a historian, why not do history," said Erik Holland, Curator of Education with the State Historical Society.

The class is taught by Dr. Joseph Stuart of the University of Mary, and will be presenting a group of projects at the Heritage Center. A reader's theater made up of letters and poetry from the era, a research project on gas masks, a presentation of posters from the war, and an exhibit of the equipment used by soldiers of the different countries.

"I am the definition of a history buff, so this is perfect. I love looking at all of the artifacts and looking through old letters of soldiers, and I've had a big background in the army in my family. So it's really nice to see other soldiers' letters and feelings about a war I've never really looked at," said Malcolm Huff, a student at the University of Mary.

On Thursday the students involved in the reader's theater project were looking over one of the Heritage Center's auditoriums. Planning the program for the theater and how best to use the space. Other students were in the State Archives researching, or studying letters from the war.

"They'll see something different. Some young minds thinking about things, maybe in a different perspective, maybe using different techniques than our traditional ways and all of that's exciting because that's the future," said Holland.

The students aim to communicate to the community what life was like during the Great War, both on the front lines and at home.

The presentations and events will begin at 2pm on Dec. 10 at the Heritage Center.