Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Recommended: The Minnesota Military Museum's Traveling Trunk Program

The Minnesota Military Museum offers a Traveling Trunk Program to help bring history to life in schools, libraries, other museums, or youth groups.  Each trunk focuses on a specific war and contains an assortment of items—original or reproduction—that would have been commonly used by soldiers during that time in our nation’s history. The contents of these trunks are loaned to be used for research, exhibition, or as a hands-on educational resource that piques student interest in history by engaging them in object-based learning. These are available to use for the Civil War, First World War, Second World War, and Vietnam War.

Below are the two WWI trunks.  Learn more about the program HERE.

Each trunk contains representative examples of field gear and a uniform commonly worn by U.S. Doughboys in France during WWI. Unless noted, all items are original and not reproductions. Click on the images to enlarge.

Trunk 1

  • M-1917 U.S. steel helmet with reproduction liner/chinstrap
  • U.S. gas mask bag with foam filler (for shape), complete with all straps and fasteners
  • Service coat, U.S. enlisted, wool
  • Ration tin containing Fray Bentos Prepared Beef (bully beef reproduction)
  • Breeches, U.S. enlisted, wool
  • Leggings, spiral wrap, wool
  • Overseas cap, U.S. enlisted, wool
  • Cartridge belt (reproduction)
  • Overcoat, U.S. enlisted, wool
  • First Aid packet pouch (reproduction)
  • M-1910 canteen
  • M-1910 canteen cup
  • M-1910 canteen cover
  • M-1910 field pack
  • M-1910 pack “tail”
  • M-1910 shovel and cover (reproduction)

The trunk also includes posters, newspapers, and illustrations of uniforms of the WWI era, as well as a field pack layout.

Trunk 2

  • M-1917 U.S. enlisted coat. Engineer collar insignia. A nice sample of the typical coat worn by a Doughboy in France
  • Enlisted overseas cap with Engineer device on front
  • M-1917 Steel helmet as worn by U.S. soldiers in France
  • Gas mask bag. Bag only, no mask, but has foam filler to give it shape
  • M-1910 Canteen cover (reproduction)
  • M-1910 Cup, with canteen
  • M-1910 Cartridge belt (reproduction)
  • M-1910 Haversack field pack (reproduction)
  • M-1910 Entrenching tool cover (reproduction)
  • M-1910 Entrenching tool
  • M-1904 First-aid pouch (reproduction)
  • First-aid packet in metal tin (reproduction)
  • M-1910 mess kit
  • Knife-fork-spoon
  • “Fray Bentos” bully beef tin with edible contents
  • Condiment can
  • M-1916 Bacon tin
  • German enlisted man's field coat (reproduction)
  • M-1916 steel helmet (reproduction)
  • Belt buckle
  • 2 Ammunition pouches


  1. What a terrific idea! Bravo! With history being so downgraded in schools, what a brilliant way to restore it as a topic appealing to students! I hope someone expands the program to other topics.

  2. Missing some history - I guess showing off a rifle and bayonet is taboo.