New poster exhibition in Wakefield Museum to mark the First World War

​Date: 18/02/2015

A new exhibition showing rarely seen recruitment posters from the First World War, is to be launched at Wakefield Museum this month.

Called 'A Call to Arms – the art of persuasion' the exhibition runs from February 28 – September 26. It shows posters from the museum's collections that have not been on display for at least 20 years.

The 34 posters are all from the 1914 /1915 period, before compulsory recruitment to the armed services, was introduced. They were mainly produced by the Parliamentary recruitment committee and are part of a national campaign.

The posters attempt to get men to enlist in the army by appealing to their sense of patriotic duty, social responsibility and vulnerability.

Cllr Les Shaw, Cabinet Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: "The First World War is a fascinating part of our history and I would encourage people to come and see these recruitment posters. 

"They give a great insight into the many and varied techniques that were used to persuade men to joined the armed forces, as well as being interesting as art."

Experts recognise the quality of the art which was produced at this time, as part of a golden era for graphic print advertising. But at the same time, the colour images also glamorised a horrific war.

Visitors to the exhibition can also draw parallels with current military recruitment, playing on the excitement and camaraderie and being the best.

The exhibition is part of a bigger programme of events at the museum in Burton Street, and is nationally commemorating the centenary of the First World War.

Last year the team created the Great War Trail around Wakefield Museum, Great War Inspires at Pontefract Museum and tweeted the 1918 diary of George Kellett, a local man involved in the fighting.

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