Jan 10, 2017 at 11:03 PM

Locals Loan WWI Helmets to UCSB Exhibit Showcasing Evolution of Modern Warfare

By Veterans Foundation

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An exhibition at UC Santa Barbara, “Helmets of the First World War: Battle, Technology and Culture,” highlights an innovation from the trenches of WWI and the birth of modern warfare by featuring steel helmets.  

The exhibition is on display now through the end of the winter quarter – March 24, 2017 – and is open to the public. It is on view at the Mountain Gallery on the first floor of the UCSB Library.

The display was assembled from the collection of UCSB alumnus John Blankenship, the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation, the USCB Library’s Special Research Collections and Santa Barbara County Sheriff and PCVF board member, Bill Brown. Brown contributed a French Adrian helmet that still has the original paint.

At the beginning of the war in 1914, soldiers went into battle with bright colored uniforms and soft caps. As the war became characterized by advanced weaponry and trench warfare, head wounds from artillery shells that rained exploding shrapnel killed many soldiers. In response, the French introduced the first steel helmets in 1915 and other countries soon followed suit.

The exhibition features helmets from France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, and the U.S. It also includes caps worn before the introduction of helmets.

The exhibition was curated by John W.I. Lee, a history professor at UCSB who is also the faculty advisor for the UCSB Veterans Resource Center. Undergraduate research assistant Sydney Martin helped with curation of the exhibit. For more information, visit http://www.library.ucsb.edu/events-exhibitions.

About Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation

Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation is committed to honoring the men and women who have served in U.S. military efforts. PCVF does this by supporting veterans and active duty members, and related partner organizations, in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties as well as preserving military history and legacy. The Foundation works to uphold Pierre Claeyssen’s vision that those who have served are “Never Forgotten.”  PCVF is funded entirely by private donations. For more information, visit www.pcvf.org or call (805) 259-4394. 

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