History Museum

Fighting the Great War at Home and Abroad

April 15 - July 9

 Howard Chandler Christy Poster

On April 2, 1917, Woodrow Wilson went before a joint session of congress and declared war on Germany. After three years of anxiously following the headlines from Europe, Americans were going to war. Marking the 100th anniversary of US entry into “the Great War,” the History Museum of Sonoma County presents an exhibition exploring how the war touched so many lives, both at home and abroad.


As it reaches the century mark, the war has faded from collective memory-- simply with the passage of time and within the shadow of World War II. However, the war that lasted from 1914 until November 1918, reshaped the world and had a tremendous impact in Sonoma County. From the individual soldiers who ventured into a bigger world for the first time, to victory gardens and rationing on the home front, to the tragedy of the Spanish flu, discover the story of WWI in Sonoma County. 


This exhibition features:

  • A stunning collection of World War I posters that served as instruments of persuasion
  • Artifacts of the war, from uniforms that belonged Sonoma County soldiers, to examples of trench art
  • Letters and diaries from Sonoma County

The History of Sonoma County in 100 Objects

January 29 - Ongoing

“History is a pack of lies that we play on the dead,” observed the French philosopher Voltaire.  When it comes to the written word, the stories that have been left to us are not only fragmented and incomplete, they are often deliberately misleading, be it a lover’s letter or a politician’s speech. The past has left more than words, however; it has left things, and things don’t dissemble.


An authentic object not only bears witness to history, it is also part of it—it was there, at that time, at that place. Objects have the power to connect us in a more direct, more sensory, more visceral way than mere words.


Selecting from its collection of over 17,000 objects, the History Museum of Sonoma County presents the History of Sonoma County in 100 objects. Inspired by similar projects at the British Museum and the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum will exhibit a revolving group of objects designed to carry the visitor on a journey through Sonoma’s history.


The History of Sonoma County in 100 Objects is more than a static exhibition-- it is a process-- and this is where we hope to involve you, the visitor. Presented in segments rather than all 100 objects at once, the exhibition will invite participation—by voting on potential objects to be included, by submitting pictures of objects that you think belong in the selection, by pointing out what is missing entirely, by adding your own stories. In this way, the exhibition will impel your participation. We believe that the ultimate curator is the museum visitor who decides what to look at, what to read, what to remember, and, most importantly, what questions to ask. 

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