The Volunteers Exhibition

The Volunteers: Americans Join World War I, 1914-1919

AFS presents a travelling one-of-a-kind interactive museum exhibition commemorating the heroic service of American international volunteers—from World War I American Field Service ambulance drivers through present-day international humanitarian aid organizations

Opens: Spring 2015, National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, Kansas City, Missouri

The Volunteers will travel to various European venues during 2015-2017, beginning with the Würth Museum in Alsace, France in November 2015. 

American Red Cross Volunteers in West Trier, Germany, 1919. Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs.

American Red Cross Volunteers in West Trier, Germany, 1919. Archives of the American Field Service and AFS Intercultural Programs.

The Volunteers: Americans Join World War I, 1914–1919 museum exhibition showcases the importance of American volunteers in the War.

Coinciding with the 100th anniversary commemoration of the First World War, the exhibit traces the little-known history of how many independent and entrepreneurial volunteer groups pioneered models for present-day international humanitarian organizations. 

Central to this intriguing story are the founders of AFS—the WWI volunteer ambulance drivers of the American Field Service, along with key figures from the American Red Cross, the Commission for Relief in Belgium and the American Fund for French Wounded.

This captivating exhibition explores the motivations and contributions of brave American relief workers, physicians, nurses, ambulance drivers and volunteer American soldiers and pilots who joined the French Foreign Legion and the Lafayette Escadrille.  

On display will be rarely seen artifacts, memorabilia, photographs, film footage and correspondence (private and official) from the AFS and other archives and WWI private collections in the United States and Europe. Before leaving the exhibit, guests will be able to tap into an interactive global map feature to identify volunteer opportunities around the world. 

The Volunteers offers a fresh and exciting perspective on WWI.