In early 2017 — in observation of the 100th commemorative year of WWI —THC staff began development of a new mobile tour that guides travelers to historic sites, museums, military bases, airfields, naval stations, monuments, and memorials to explore Texas’ home front efforts to win the war and the social change those efforts engendered.
The Texas WWI Centennial Commission partnered with THC staff to development the WWI: Texas and the Great War mobile tour. Development work began with the assembly of a substantial inventory of historic sites, museums, military installations, public art, and monuments that keep alive the memory of WWI in Texas.
Through meetings with those listed below and further research, sites and interesting stories of people and events were identified for the tour:
- Douglas Harman, Texas World War I Centennial Commission, Tarrant County Historical Commission, Harman Consulting
- Jim Hodgson, Texas World War I Centennial Commission, Fort Worth Aviation Museum
- Kent Knudson, Tarrant County Historical Commission
- Lila Rakoczy, No Man’s Land: East Texas African Americans in WWI project. East Texas Historical Association
The WWI: Texas and the Great War mobile tour also benefited from insights and support provided by the following stakeholder participants:
- Tyler Alberts – 90th Division Association
- Greg Bailey – Cushing Memorial Library, Texas A&M University
- John Blair – George Bush Presidential Library
- Anton Duplessis – Cushing Memorial Library, Texas A&M University
- Randy Gilbert – Historian
- Clara Wallace Holmes – Tarrant County Historical Commission
- Sanders Marble – Office of Medical History, US Army Medical Command
- William Morris – Historian
- Doug Price – Brenham Heritage Museum
- Steven Sielaff – Baylor University
- Paul Spellman – Wharton County Junior College
The WWI: Texas and the Great War mobile tour reveals home front history through rich text entries, photo galleries, dramatic audio tracks, and documentary style videos.
For example, the role African Americans living in East Texas played in the build-up of infrastructure in Europe necessary to support US military operations is recounted in an audio track embedded in the Lufkin: Texas Forestry Museum mobile tour site page. Listen to the audio track here:
Pre-WWI experiments in militarized aviation led to massive war time aviation developments in Texas, which laid the foundation for North Texas to become the global center of aviation that it is today.Fort Worth Aviation Museum director Jim Hodgson provided the interviews needed to make this story come to life in a short video that is included in the mobile tour and circulated on THC social media:
The WWI: Texas and the Great War mobile tour is now available for use with a web browser, or it may be downloaded as a part of our Texas Time Travel Tours mobile app, available on iTunes and Google Play.To learn more about the mobile app and to view all our tour content online, visit: http://www.texashistoryapp.com