Uncle Sam, in top hat and jacket, beckons with a distinct stare and finger point, declaring "I Want You."
The 1917 poster produced during World War I, then known as the Great War, is perhaps the most well-known piece of U.S. government propaganda, but certainly not the only one.
A special exhibit at The First Division Museum at Cantigny Park will feature a collection of 37 posters, along with some artifacts, related to the government's and patriotic organizations' advertisements during the war.
"WE NEED YOU! Propaganda of The Great War," opens Saturday and runs through Nov. 2. Admission is free with a $5 parking fee for each vehicle.
"It's showing propaganda was used to sort of mobilize the entire country as opposed to just trying to build up the military," said Teri Bianchi, exhibits manager for the museum.
Most exhibits have focused more on the military aspects of war, Bianchi said, but this one will be a new perspective that shows more of the home front.
"It's the first time you have a huge propaganda effort," she said. "Propaganda has always existed in some form, but by the time you get to World War I, you have the rise in mass communication and a much more concentrated effort to create the Committee for Public Information that was basically the propaganda wing of the U.S. government."
Of the 37 posters in the exhibit, 32 are originals with the others reproductions, said Jaron Keener, exhibit designer. They are the best of more than 100 in the museum's collection of propaganda posters. Most were donated in the 1980s and others were purchased. They had been stored in the museum vault until staff decided in the fall it was time for them to be shown to the public.
The posters will be accompanied by some artifacts, including souvenirs that soldiers brought home -- such as a belt and helmet. There'll also be a uniform, along with knit goods.
The initial idea was to do an exhibit showcasing all government war propaganda pieces, but as the team evaluated the collection, it became evident that many were from the Great War. And, with the 100-year anniversary, the focus on that war became clear, Bianchi said.
The anniversary of the start of the Great War is actually in August, but the exhibit opens on Armed Forces Day.
As visitors enter, they'll be greeted with the famous Uncle Sam poster. They'll then go through five sections that depict the enemy, recruitment, financing the fight, supporting the troops and women in the fight.
"There's a lot for you to see even if you're not into war or into military history," Keener said. "The posters are very artistic, they're very graphic. The images on them are very interesting and appealing and I think people will like that, even if you're not necessarily super excited for the 100th anniversary of the First World War."
For more information, visit firstdivisionmuseum.org.