In commemoration of the centennial of World War I, the Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum in New Bedford features a related exhibition, "A Salute to Service."
The grandson of William Rotch Jr., William Rotch Bullard (1893-1953), was an ambulance driver in France during the war. Photographs he took during his tour and diary entries of daily maneuvers provide a unique and personal perspective on the daily travails of life in a war zone. Blair Walker, curator at the museum, has assembled a selection of these objects from the museum’s collections. The exhibition also features items such as uniforms and journals on loan from a private collection.
Related programs are scheduled in March, including:
Sunday, March 25, 4 p.m.: World War I Flying Aces with Mark Wilkins
Flying was in its infancy and dangerous enough without the added element of combat, yet these young men climbed aboard their frail machines of canvas and wood and ascended skyward on a daily basis. By war’s end, the machines and tactics had evolved enough that airplanes became efficient killing machines. Join historian and writer Mark C. Wilkins for an illustrated talk about these remarkable pilots and their flying machines. Advance tickets are required.
Thursday, March 29, 2 p.m.: World War I: New Bedford and The Great War / Talk and Tea and with Peggi Medeiros
Although America did not enter the war until April of 1917, life in New Bedford had already changed. Edward Mandell Stone, a volunteer in the French Foreign Legion, is widely considered to be the first American to die. He was 27 years old and his parents were from New Bedford. The Grinnell family vacated their County Street mansion and turned it over to the American Red Cross. The man who would found Alcoholics Anonymous had his first drink there (he was stationed at Fort Rodman and invited to a number of parties there). The Easter Rising brought exiled speakers to New Bedford. John M. Bullard served in the war and kept an invaluable diary (part of the RJD exhibit). Advance tickets are required.
The RJD honors veterans by offering free admission to the museum through the month of April in addition to half-priced tickets to these March programs.
The Rotch-Jones-Duff House & Garden Museum was built in 1834 for whaling merchant William Rotch Jr. The Greek Revival mansion, located on a full city block of formal gardens, is a National Historic Landmark, one of only 2,500 currently so named in the nation. The museum is located at 396 County St. It is open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Starting March 24, it will be open Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m.
Admission is $6 for adults; $5 for AAA members, seniors and students; and $3 for children younger than 18.