See New Additions: Plans Underway for WWI Display, Cell
Calli Price, CT
C-T Photo / Calli Price
CAPTION: Two local women view the WWI case at the Grand River Historical
Society Museum Saturday. The case contains two uniforms, a helmet, a gas
mask, goggles and leg wraps. Museum Curator Pam Clingerman plans to
add a second case of WWI artifacts and models to the museum display in the near
The Grand River Historical Society Museum is currently working on some
changes to its exhibits for this year, especially to its World War I
collection in honor of the 100th anniversary of the beginning of
"the war to end all wars." Museum Curator Pam Clingerman said the museum currently has two uniforms
from WWI, a doughboy uniform and a cavalry uniform, complete with a gas
mask, goggles, helmet and leg wraps. These both fit in one
case. Clingerman is hoping to add a second case to the WWI collection, and plans
to potentially work with students from Chillicothe High School to include
dioramas of war technology developed for the war, including tanks,
airplanes, hand grenades and flame throwers. The case will also include
several souvenir items soldiers brought back from the war and a letter
The case holding the WWI uniforms, as well as the other war uniform cases,
has been repainted with paint that will not outgas, a process where the
paint releases chemicals that damage historic artifacts over time.
"The purpose of repainting them with non-reactive paint is so that you
don't have outgassing of chemicals, which doesn't necessarily
affect the fabric itself but it affects the
thread," Clingerman explained. "After a long period of time, the thread would
deteriorate to the point where sleeves would start falling off and buttons would be falling off. We want
to conserve what we have. "Civil War uniforms are 150 years old,
non-replaceable. Same with the World War I, they're 100 years
Filters have also been placed on the lights inside the cases to protect
the fabric. Felt bases have been placed in the bottom of the cases as
well. Mannequins holding the war uniforms are also being replaced.
Clingerman is creating mannequins to fit each uniform they have, instead
of using the predominantly ladies-shaped mannequins they have.
She is using broom sticks, blocks of wood, carpet rolls and polyethelene foam to
create a more block-body form.
museum's gun collection will be moved to the war section to tie in
with the genre. The guns will be organized by era, and guns used during
the war periods will be denoted. "We're trying to tell stories so that people understand
what things are," Clingerman said. "We're trying to make things cleaner, easier to
Though 2014 marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of WWI, America
did not enter the war until 1917. Clingerman said closer to that time, the
museum will work on a special event to commemorate the part America
played in the war.
In 2013, Clingerman said the museum applied for two grants; one grant that
would allow the museum to receive 10 new tall cases and one that would
allow a cell phone tour to be used in the museum. Due to applying late in
the grant season, the museum did not receive the new cases, but did
receive the cell phone tour grant. Clingerman said the museum was
originally going to place all war-time uniforms under cases if they
received the new cases and would use the cell phone tour to go along with
the uniforms to further explain them. "If we had the ten cases, that
was going to be a good way of explaining
everything," Clingerman added.
Instead, the cell phone tour will be created for the entire museum.
Clingerman is currently working on the tour, which should be completed by
the end of the month.
The museum will apply for the 2014 grant for new cases this spring and
will hopefully receive them this fall if their application is accepted.
Should this be the case, a carpenter will help to install the new cases.
Clingerman said the current cases are typically used to put historical
items in storage, not on display. "These ones are nice, but they
are store cases," Clingerman explained.
"There's a big difference. The new ones would be glass on the sides as
well so you'd have a much better view and you could put more things in
Eventually, Clingerman said she would like to get all war uniforms under
glass case for preservation of the fabric. Good, quality display cases for
museums can cost as much as as $18,000 with environmental controls and
preservation technology. Though the grant would not supply environmentally
controlled cases, she said that display cases are still expensive and that
without grants or donations, the museum would not be able to store or
display its historical items and preserve their quality.
"We have to work within a budget," Clingerman said.
"We have to depend on what we can find. With small museums you need to depend on grants for a
lot of things." Clingerman said she is hopeful that the museum receives the cases in the
fall. Until then, she will continue working on refurbishing the
The Grand River Historical Society Museum is open every Wednesday,
Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. with the exception of holidays. For
more information on museum events and exhibits, contact the museum at