My name is Jordan Heller and I am a student at UW-Milwaukee working on my Masters Degree in Public History. I graduated from UW-Green Bay in 2016 with a Bachelor of Arts degree, double majoring in History and Arts Management. I have recently acquired an internship here at the Chudnow Museum and I am excited to be working with the staff and the museum's vast and eclectic collection.
For those of you who know me well, I have an immense passion for history in all shapes and sizes. In particular, I have been fascinated by the history of the First World War. I have considered myself more of a World War Two history buff, but in the months and years leading up to the Centenary of World War One in 2014, I have been even more interested in the history behind this conflict. Ever since the start of the centenary (in Europe) in July 2014, I have worked hard to read, view, and generally get my hands on anything involving WWI history. It has since become a new passion of mine and has guided and inspired my studies all throughout college and into graduate school.
To many, WWI seems like an incredibly distant memory. The United States was a combatant for only 19 months from April 1917 to November 1918--a blink of the eye in most history textbooks. Outside of history books, the only exposure some people have to WWI is through Snoopy's imagined career as a Royal Flying Corps pilot seeking a fight with the Red Baron in Charles Schulz's Peanuts comics or through movies such as The African Queen, Legends of the Fall, All Quiet on the Western Front, or more recently, Wonder Woman. We can also attribute this lack of perspective through the lack of surviving WWI veterans; the last American veteran who served in the war, Frank Buckles, died in 2011. Compared to the significant--but steadily decreasing--remaining population of WWII veterans, most people alive today do not have a personal connection to WWI through the stories of those who lived through it.
This is where my work as a prospective historian comes in. I feel that the best way for people to gain an appreciation of history is by understanding it through a highly personal perspectve. History is more than reading about dates and famous people in textbooks; the who, why, and how is more important than the what and when. Through this blog published by the Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear, I hope to encourage people near and far to learn about World War One almost as if they are experiencing it as it happened. Utilizing pieces from the Chudnow Museum's collection and outside, I aim to provide a personalized and approachable history of "The Great War" through a series of posts throughout the year.
I look forward to writing this blog, and I hope that you all enjoy reading and learning from it.