New Mexico History Museum

History Museum opens The First World War exhibition on 100th anniversary of Armistice

October 11, 2018


(Santa Fe, New Mexico) – New Mexico achieved statehood just two short years before the Great War broke out in Europe in 1914. Recruitment in the nascent state was aggressive, and New Mexicans stepped up to serve in large numbers. By the end of the first World War, New Mexico ranked fifth in the nation for military service, enlisting more than 17,000 recruits from all 33 New Mexican counties. The war claimed the lives of 501 New Mexicans. The global conflict ended with the signing of the armistice Nov. 11, 1918.

This year, on the 100th anniversary of the signing of the armistice, Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018, the New Mexico History Museum opens a permanent exhibition entitled The First World War –featuring the stories, images and letters from New Mexicans who served.

“The First World War permanent exhibition opening on Veterans Day 2018 at the New Mexico History Museum captures the essence of the hardship, fears, hopes, dreams, and heartbreak of New Mexicans who served,” said Devorah Romanek, Curator of Exhibits at the University of New Mexico’s Maxwell Museum of Anthropology and guest curator of the New Mexico History Museum’s The First World War exhibition. “The demographics of New Mexico’s military contingent reflected the diversity and singular history of the state.”

“For some, the call to serve led to global travel and new perspectives, but the yearning for home was always present.” Many of those enlisted personnel had served in the Mexican Punitive Expedition, a retaliatory response to Mexican revolutionary leader Pancho Villa’s attack on the border town of Columbus.  The First World War exhibition investigates the contributions of New Mexicans to the war, through letters, photographs and objects.

“New Mexico played an important role in both world wars,” said Andrew Wulf, Director of the New Mexico History Museum. “We are proud to be able to recognize and remember that contribution and add The First World War as a permanent exhibition, to underscore the sacrifice and heartfelt letters home from these brave soldiers.”

About the New Mexico History Museum and Palace of the Governors National Historic Landmark:

Opened in May 2009, as the state system’s newest museum, the New Mexico History Museum is attached to the Palace of the Governors National Historic Landmark, a distinctive emblem of U.S. history and the original seat of New Mexico government. The History Museum serves as an anchor of the campus that includes Palace of the Governors, the Palace Press, the Fray Angelico Chavez History Library, and Photo Archives. The Museum presents exhibitions and public programs that interpret historical events and reflect on the wide range of New Mexico historical experiences and serves as a history center for research, education and lifelong learning, delivering quality programs that encourage knowledge, understanding and appreciation of New Mexico’s diverse cultures. A division of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. 113 Lincoln Ave. in Santa Fe, NM 87501. (505) 476-5200. Hours: 10 a,m,- 5 p.m. daily, May through October; closed Mondays November through April. Events, news releases and images about activities at the History Museum and other divisions in the Department of Cultural Affairs can be accessed at




Related Photos

Paris and Oren Crockett, ca. 1919, Seaman Paris Crockett of Roswell joined the Navy and patrolled the Mexican Coast on the gunboat USS Vicksburg. His older brother, Private Oren Crockett was a runner for Company C, 8th Machine Gun Battalion, and was award
John Brockman (right) and a friend, ca. 1917, Camp Funston, KS, John Brockman (right), whose letters are highlighted in the exhibition, lived on a farm where his family grew corn, wheat and beans, when he was drafted as a private. He grew up in the small
Tomas Rivera, ca. 1919- Private Tomas Rivera was a 35-year-old school teacher from El Rito, when he enlisted in May 1918. He fought in France, returning home in June 1919. New Mexico Council of Defense. World War I, Series 18.1. New Mexico Adjutant Genera
Byron, George and Floyd Wells, ca. 1919- The Wells brothers of Roswell were all Corporals, and they enlisted in 1918. Byron was the oldest and was in the Air Service. George, and Floyd were in the army. Floyd Wells, the youngest of the three, was awarded
Cornelius M. Cruz, ca. 1919 - Private Cornelius Cruz of Ohkay Owingeh (San Juan Indian Pueblo), a musician and a carpenter, was in the 5th Cavalry, troop E. In his service report Cruz wrote that his ancestors had been experienced warriors, fighting the Na
Servando Gonzales (left, with violin) and fellow musicians, ca. 1919 - Private Servando Gonzales, of Tijeras, played the violin with other musicians in his division, the 19th Infantry, Company E. New Mexico Council of Defense. World War I, Series 18.1. N
Nathanial Frucht, Château-Thierry, March 1919, The battle of Château-Thierry was one of the first battles the American Expeditionary forces fought, and a number of New Mexican soldiers highlighted in this exhibition participated in the battle, named for t
The Red Cross and Native American women giving “the boys” fruit, cigarettes and handkerchiefs, ca. 1918. Courtesy of the Center for Southwest Research, UNM, No. 000-885(8)-0012

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