As part of the commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of America’s entry into World War I on April 6, 1917, the State Museum is presenting a small selection of objects from its military collection, as a complement to the WWI exhibit in the War Memorial building. “The Yanks are Coming!” Tennesseans in World War I, which opens at the State Museum on April 6, reflects Tennessee’s role in the war that came to be known as the “Great War.”
The first mass war of the 20th century, World War I lasted four long years, from 1914 to 1918, with the United States entering the conflict on April 6, 1917. Tennessee supplied more than 61,000 men to the Selective Service and 19,000 volunteers. Six Tennesseans would receive the Medal of Honor for their service. [...]
On view in the exhibit will be selected artifacts from the State Museum’s World War I collection — posters, photographs, and other historical objects.
The exhibit shares stories of soldiers such as Zephaniah Porter Broom of Inskip in Knox County, who exemplified the state’s volunteer spirit. He served with the 3rd Tennessee Infantry National Guard from 1910 until 1915. He enlisted as a private with the Canadian Army’s 70th Battalion in October 1915. While in the field the following June, he joined the ranks of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry. In France, he was wounded by a machine gun bullet near the Somme in September 1916, and was returned to Canada. On October 1, 1917, he joined the U.S. Army and was assigned to Company C, 117th Infantry Regiment, 30th Division and trained at Camp Sevier, South Carolina. The 117th fought near Ypres, Belgium in 1918 and in several engagements on the Hindenburg Line. Broom was honorably discharged in April 1919. He died in 1979 at the age of 89 and is buried near Knoxville.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website