Winona Public Library hosts WWI exhibit


Kristin Kovalsky

Scot Simpson, volunteer at Winona County Historical Society, gives a presentation titled “The War to End All Wars… or Not: A Brief Overview of the First World War”.

Kristin Kovalsky, News Reporter

Thursday Jan. 16, the Winona Public Library hosted a presentation on World War I.

The presentation was called “The War to End All Wars… or Not: A Brief Overview of the First World War”.

Scot Simpson, volunteer at Winona County Historical Society, gave the presentation.

He discussed life in the trenches for the soldiers, which included the conditions of the trenches, as well as explanations of the different illnesses that were rampant within them.

He also talked about how warfare was conducted in World War I, and the different types of weapons that were used.

Simpson discussed how in World War I, there were three citizens of Winona who served in different aspects of the war and returned home.

Simpson ended the presentation with a poem written by a British soldier entitled “Last Laugh”.

Simpson said it is vital to know and learn about history.

“As the old saying goes, those who can’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it. We can learn how we get to where we are, and all the indications of where we’re going by looking to the past. To find that out, you study where you’ve been, to know where you are and where you’re going,” Simpson said.

In addition to the presentation, there was a poster exhibit, “WWI: Lessons and Legacies”, detailing different aspects of the war.

The exhibit was given to the library from the Smithsonian Institution.

Samantha TerBeest Berhow, adult services librarian, said that the exhibit is something the library had never done.

“It kind of came across my desk randomly. The Smithsonian Institute put out a callout for World War I exhibits, poster exhibits that were free. And I thought, ‘that’s cool, we’ve never done a poster exhibit in here before’,” Terbeest Berhow said.

The posters consisted of topics such as: how German-Americans were treated, medical and technological advances, how Americans helped in the war from home and how the war changed attitudes of the American people.

“I hope they learn something about World War I and its significance, and some of the things that happened. I hope people go away with a better understanding of what it was like back then during World War I, both at home and across the seas during the war,” Terbeest Berhow said.

The exhibit will be in the library until Jan. 31.