Jun 17, 2016

The Chelsea District Library will unveil a historical installation on July 30, honoring the centennial anniversary of World War I. Working in conjunction with the Chelsea River Gallery, Chelsea City Council, Chelsea Downtown Development Authority and Michigan Humanities Council, the Library has curated large historical banners, exhibiting WWI artifacts, photographs, letters and more.

The installation will be called “The World War I Centennial: Strong Foundations, New Possibilities.” In addition to the historical banners and exhibits, there will be several events held as a part of the centennial celebration. The public unveiling and ribbon cutting for the exhibit will be held on Saturday, July 30 at 11 a.m. on the Library Lawn, and will feature guided tours of the installation, a World War I reenactor and more. On August 10, a historical interpretation of “General John J. Pershing’s Hello Girls” will take place at 6 p.m. in the Library’s McKune Room – and you won’t want to miss this fascinating introduction to the Hello Girls of World War I.

“Hello Girls” were American bilingual female switchboard operators (fluent in both English and French) who joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps to contribute to the war effort – and who waited until 1978, sixty years after the conclusion of World War I, to be recognized and given formal honorable discharges. Prior to then, “Hello Girls” were considered civilians by the military, because Army regulations at the time specified that military personnel must be male.

Residents of the charming community of Chelsea have temporarily donated heirlooms, shared family stories, and volunteered as docents to present this fascinating historical exhibit to visitors. Upon this anniversary of the Great War, we hope you’ll plan to visit lovely Chelsea to learn more about its part in the history of World War I and what life was like here over one hundred years ago.

While you’re here in Chelsea for this exhibit, you may also wish to experience the self-guided Chelsea Downtown Historic Walking Tour, the Chelsea Sounds & Sights Festival (which includes an art market, car show and more), the Chelsea Fair, the Chelsea Farmer’s Market,  a tour at the Jiffy Mix Factory, a production at Jeff Daniels’ Purple Rose Theater, a hike through the Waterloo State Recreation Area, or any of the other numerous attractions waiting for you to experience in western Washtenaw County. The Common Grill is renowned for outstanding lunch and dinner in this quaint community, and the microbrews at Chelsea Alehouse Brewery can’t be beat. For more information about visiting Chelsea, check out www.visitannarbor.org.

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