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The Great War | Article

War Letter Wednesday

#WarLetterWednesday, a weekly social media challenge to showcase stories of wartime correspondence. We hope that you'll join us in sharing your own collections as we commemorate the many ways that soldiers, nurses, volunteers, journalists and others documented their wartime experiences for those back home. Read on for more information on the campaign and how you can participate!

What: #WarLetterWednesday is a new weekly Instagram challenge to feature your war letters, photographs and communication technologies in order to share the history of wartime correspondence.

Who: PBS' flagship history series American Experience invites you to share the unique personal histories surrounding wartime correspondence. Museums, libraries, and cultural organizations are encouraged to customize #WarLetterWednesday to share the war letters and other related materials in your collections. We’ll also invite the public to post images of their own letters and stories using #WarLetterWednesday.

When: In the weeks leading up to the centennial of the United States' entry into WWI and the premiere of our new documentary The Great War, we’ll publish a new #WarLetterWednesday challenge every Wednesday from March 8 to April 12.

Please note: Your own #WarLetterWednesday posts can be about any war, not just WWI! See below for more details.

• We’ll feature a new #WarLetterWednesday challenge along with corresponding video and images each Wednesday on Instagram.
• We’ll also feature #WarLetterWednesday stories on FacebookTwitter, and our website.

Why: WWI was a watershed in wartime letter-writing, but it is just one chapter in a long history of Americans communicating conflict from abroad. Throughout American history, letters and dispatches from soldiers and others at the front have brought news, good and bad, to waiting loved ones at home. At the same time, letters from the homefront were an eagerly awaited respite from the terrors of war to those serving far from home. These messages range from the poignant, poetic and heartbreaking to the humorous, brief and mundane. Whether written with ink and parchment or tapped out in telegrams or typed in emails, they have all shown the human face of war and conflict. With #WarLetterWednesday, American Experience aims to build a community of museums, libraries, cultural organizations and individuals centered on sharing the history of wartime correspondence in America.
• #WarLetterWednesday is a space for people to share the letters and related materials that reflect individuals' experiences of war throughout American history.
• #WarLetterWednesday is a space for cultural organizations and individuals to share and discuss historic letters and other wartime communication.

How it will Work:
1. Each week, we’ll invite the public and our community to a new #WarLetterWednesday challenge.
2. Each challenge will ask people to feature a different category in the experience of writing letters during wartime.
3. Show off your letters and other materials!
a) Post your letters and photos on Instagram and tag #WarLetterWednesday. 
b) American Experience will highlight our favorite posts from each week's challenge and share clips and images from our new documentary The Great War.
4. Tell your friends! Get your followers and community involved in showing off their own #WarLetterWednesday treasures. You never know what you’ll find in Grandpa’s attic!

Social Media Accounts

Here’s where we’ll be posting: 
Instagram: @AmericanExperiencePBS 
Facebook: @AmericanExperiencePBS 
Twitter: @AmExperiencePBS


1. My organization doesn't have any letters, but we have plenty of other materials. Can we still participate? 
Yes! As long as it's something about war-time correspondence, we encourage you to get creative with each week's challenge. Some examples of non-letter postings could be a telegraph machine or other technology that highlights the history of wartime communication. Or maybe you have a war-time propaganda poster about U.S. Mail at that time, or a photograph that was sent to the front. There are a lot of ways to tell the history of war-time communication!

2. Can this be for any U.S. military conflict? 
Yes! American Experience is launching this social media challenge around the premiere of our upcoming documentary "The Great War" and the centennial of the United States' entrance into WWI, but we encourage you to share stories of any war or conflict in American history.

3. My organization doesn't have an Instagram, can we still join in? Absolutely! Share your #WarLetterWednesday story on any social platform. We will primarily be using Instagram, but we'd love to see your stories on Twitter, Facebook and other platforms, too. Just be sure to tag your posts with #WarLetterWednesday.

4. Do I need to tag American Experience in my posts? 
You certainly can, but it's not necessary. The only requirement is to tag your posts with #WarLetterWednesday.

5. I still have questions -- how can I contact you? 
You can reach out to our Audience Engagement Editor Katie Tarvainen at Katharine_Tarvainen@wgbh.org. She'll be happy to speak with you!

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