REVIEW: National WWI Museum – Empires at War – Austria and Russia (2021-2022) [History Tour]

A Museum exhibit at the National WWI Museum in Kansas City, MO

In addition to Snapshots, and War Remains, my trip to The National WWI Museum in Kansas City, was made complete with a stop at one of the smaller exhibits in the building – Empires at War. This exhibit is no extra cost for anyone that purchased a ticket at the museum, my ticket for Snapshots was enough for me to not be sent back home upon entry. Featuring a room split down the middle with half Russian artifacts, and half from the Austria-Hungarian Empire. Mostly consisting of weapons and uniforms, this was a solid selection of artifacts to see, and the perfect ending of my trip to the museum.

“Often viewed as the “spark” that ignited the First World War, Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg, were assassinated on June 28, 1914. As one of the very first nations to declare war, Austria accused Serbia of plotting and backing the assassination and threatened invasion. Russia, the sleeping bear, roared in to support its Slav brothers. Russia rapidly mobilized its forces, resulting in huge losses and contributing to revolutions at home.

The Eastern Front was a ‘war of movement’ where the Central Powers, with over 2.5 million troops, faced a much larger, but disorganized, force of 4 million Russians. Empires at War: Austria and Russia examines the conflict on the Eastern Front, an aspect of the war often less surveyed but with cataclysmic results for the millions affected. By the close of World War I, four empires had collapsed, including both the Russian and the Austro-Hungarian Empires, and a new world order followed.

Drawing from original objects recently added to the Museum and Memorial’s collection, the exhibition features an extraordinary collection of never-before-seen Austrian and Russian material culture – uniforms, equipment, flags, hats, helmets and more. Although the Museum and Memorial has been collecting internationally since 1920, material culture from the Eastern Front of the war has been difficult to acquire due in part to the collapse of dynasties. The commemoration of the Centennial of WWI brought opportunities to reengage the international community and enrich the collection, shedding new light on the enduring impact of war on the Eastern Front.”

There’s not much so say about this exhibit other than letting the artifacts speak for themselves. There was a great selection of items from both countries with unforms taking up the lions share. There are signs on the wall that explain various points in a timeline of the beginnings of the war, and all were very informative. The full thing takes about 20-30 minutes to get through depending on your reading speed, and is part of the normal museum admission. While in the exhibit hall, be sure to take a look at the huge banners painting over 100 years ago, and the story about the restoration of that. Overall, good addition to the museum!

For more articles on various World War I related things I’ve either read or seen, click HERE.

For more information, check out the exhibit’s official website HERE, it is still open in 2022 with no ending date listed.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s