The Historical and Cultural Society of Clay County (HCSCC) will open a new local exhibition exploring life in Clay County 100 years ago called War, Flu, & Fear: World War I and Clay County, on Tuesday, March 13. In April, 1917, Americans were thrust into a brutal global war only months after reelecting a president who campaigned on isolationism. At the same time, many farmers in the Red River Valley were increasingly distrustful of large business interests and started organizing themselves into the Nonpartisan League and Farmer-Labor Party. To them, the war was seen primarily as a money grab by war profiteers on the coasts. Much of the community agreed on that point and opposed intervention. Nonetheless, war was declared and community members responded to the call. The following year brought armistice and a flu pandemic on a scale never before seen. In the years between and shortly after, residents in Clay County endured the war with courage and patriotic sacrifice; fear and paranoia; and political oppression, activism, and disillusionment. War, Flu, and Fear gathers these stories to explore life in Clay County and the Red River Valley at the dawn of the American Century – a time dominated by the War to End All Wars, the ill-named Spanish Influenza pandemic, and a polarized and sometimes violent political climate. “These are not the cheery all-for-one stories of the great group effort that was WWII,” stated HCSCC Executive Director Maureen Kelly Jonason. “The tone of this exhibition is definitely grim and dark. This period in American history was just plain ghastly: butchering warfare, catastrophic flu, and relentless fear and suspicion of one’s neighbors—particularly those of German descent—prevailed. The fact that our country crawled out of that mire to triumph should serve to give us hope that the same can happen today.” HCSCC will host an opening reception for the exhibition on Tuesday, March 13, from 4:00PM to 7:00PM, at the Hjemkomst Center. WWI-era foods, wine, and local beer will be served. Admission for the reception is $5 (free for HCSCC members) and open to the public. War, Flu, and Fear: World War I and Clay County is sponsored in part by BNSF Railway Foundation. The exhibition will be on display in Heritage Hall through January, 2020. For more information, please contact HCSCC Communications Manager Davin Wait at (218) 299-5511, extension 6733, or email@example.com. For questions about accommodations and accessibility, please contact HCSCC Programming Director Markus Krueger at (218) 299-5511, extension 6738, or firstname.lastname@example.org.