To kick it off, we visited The National World War I Museum at Liberty Memorial, which has been building its collection for 93 years. From over approximately 70,000 items, Senior Curator Doran Cart chose to share a recent acquisition. It’s a piece of canvas from the tail section of a French bomber that its American pilot ripped off after he crash landed.
The decal on the canvas representing the 131st Bomb Escadrille Squadron is a chimera, a mythological creature, holding a British bomb.
“The chimera, or the mythological beast, that’s used in the insignia was done to show the elan or the spirit of the group.” Cart said. “The design for this mythological creature was inspired by a section of the cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, France.”
Although the object came with its own archive including photos and flight logs of the pilot, Cart is still in the process of researching and interpreting its story before it is put on display sometime this winter.