World War I was the first “modern” war as industry enabled weapons and explosives to be manufactured in vast quantities that brought death and destruction on a scale never previously experienced by mankind.

American Sgt. Charles S. Stevenson wrote, “Machine guns, rifles, shells, aeroplanes, and tanks – everything you read about – I saw ‘em all. We followed the first line (the attacking party) for twelve hours and ours was a sort of 'after the battle' review. I saw all kinds of German trenches, barbed wire entanglements, busted houses, burning trees, deep shell holes, torn-up railroad tracks, peaceful gardens, dynamited bridges.”

The experience of American soldiers in the Great War is documented in a free outdoor special centennial exhibition that runs through Aug. 20 at the National World War I Museum and Memorial, in the Museum’s Memorial Courtyard.

The exhibition features the incredible contemporary photographs of Michael St Maur Sheil, depicting the battlefields of the Western Front where the Doughboys fought. The exhibition, co-curated by the Museum, is in conjunction with the centennial of American entry into the Great War and is the first large-scale exhibition of Sheil’s work in the U.S.

When the United States entered the cataclysm of the war to become known as World War I, the global conflict had consumed many nations since 1914 and continued for years. The Armistice of Nov. 11, 1918, halted the fighting on the Western Front.

Regular hours: Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed Mondays (except holiday Mondays and during summer hours); Summer hours: Daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Memorial Day through Labor Day. The Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

Admission is $16 for adults; $14 for ages 65 and older and students 18 and older with ID; $10 for ages 6 to 17; free for members and children under 6. Discounts with ID: Active duty military 50% off; active duty family, veterans and teachers, $2 off.

For questions, call 816-888-8100.