Commemorating the First World War Centennial in Kansas

“Captured” Wins AASLH Award

Captured:  The Extraordinary Adventures of Colonel Hughes, currently on exhibit at the Kansas Museum of History in Topeka through Memorial Day weekend 2018, has received an Award of Merit from the American Association for State and Local History (AASLH).

The award is presented for excellence in history programs, projects and people when compared with similar activities nationwide.  The museum is one of forty-eight recipients from twenty-four states recognized by AASLH for 2017 in its award programs.

The exhibit is described as follows:

Eighty thousand Kansans served in World War I; 227,000 served in World War II. We pay tribute to all Kansas soldiers, past and present, by telling the story of one Kansas soldier, James Clark Hughes.

Hughes’ story is both common and exceptional.  He was born in Topeka in 1888. The timing of his birth, the influence of his military father, and the impact of world politics shaped his life. He began his service as a member of the Kansas National Guard and was sent to the Texas border in 1916 during the pursuit of Pancho Villa.  As a member of the U.S. Army he served from 1917 to 1948 and fought in both world wars. He left many detailed records of his time in service.  He photographed battlefields and towns in Europe, recorded his daily survival as a Japanese Prisoner of War (POW), and saving many belongings from the wars that were later donated to this museum.  In essence, he captured his life.

See this extraordinary collection:

  • Uniform he wore as a member of the Kansas National Guard
  • Photographs of France, Germany, and Belgium he took in 1919 as part of the 35th Division’s Army of Occupation
  • Many photographs of the same locations taken in 2000
  • Heavily patched pants he wore in four Japanese POW camps
  • Red Cross items he brought home after 41 months as a POW
  • Entries from his daily POW diary

During this 100th anniversary of World War I, we present this man and the world events that impacted the lives of so many Kansans.

For more on Colonel Hughes, see the previous post:

The exhibit can be seen during the Museum’s regular visiting hours, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Sunday, and closed Mondays and Holidays.

Click here to read the press release from AASLH.




Blair Tarr is the Museum Curator of the Kansas State Historical Society. He oversees the three-dimensional collections of the Society, but has special interests in the Civil War, Wichita-made Valentine diners, and Leavenworth's Abernathy Furniture. In the last few years he has also done a lot of cramming on The Great War. He is a past president of the Kansas Museums Association and the Civil War Round Tables of both Kansas City and Eastern Kansas. He is currently a board member of the Heritage League of Greater Kansas City.

1 Comment

  1. Adrienne Dunavin

    Congratulations!! Too cool!

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