University of Mary students remember the Great War

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BISMARCK, ND - In history there are few events that span the globe and involve millions in their scope. One of these events was the Great War, or World War One.

A group of History students from the University of Mary worked with the Heritage Center over the last few months to research North Dakota's role in that war and today they presented their findings.

Students dressed up as service members from world war one were reading the letters of North Dakota soldiers in a reader's theater. Bringing to life the words of the people from the time of the war.

"It's very moving and very powerful, it makes us aware of the riches we have here at the North Dakota State Archives at the North Dakota Heritage Center. A richness for our community to really come in contact with what's real, with the stories that have made us a community, our common stories," said Dr. Joseph Stuart, Associate Professor of History.

This was the first time that a University of Mary class has been able to do a project like this at the Heritage Center.

The staff were glad to work with the young minds and the fresh perspectives they bring to the work.

"There are issues of course, there are things to be learned from the museum side, that these students weren't necessarily prepared for, and so there has been learning all the way along," said Erik Holland, Curator of Education at the State Historical Society.

In addition to the theater, there were a number of other presentations going on as well, like an artifact exhibit where students were available to share their research on the artifacts, a chemical warfare research project, and a student-made video looking at the posters and propaganda from the era.

"These presentations have just been fabulous. I was blown away. This is the first time I've ever taught a class like this, and for many of the students it was a first time performing in this way, and taking on a public role in their studies, having to communicate it to a public audience," said Dr. Stuart.

One of the students in the reader's theater got to wear an actual world war one uniform for the presentation.

Students and staff are excited about future collaboration projects between the University and the Heritage Center.