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Maine State Museum, Library, and Archives Team Up with AARP Maine to Screen Remarkable New Smithsonian Channel Documentary

"Americans Underground: Secret City of World War I" Features Experiences of Maine Soldiers Who Served in the Yankee Division

The story of a vast underground city, where Maine soldiers from New England's Yankee Division and others took refuge in World War I, unfolds in a new documentary that will be shown at the Maine State Museum, Library, and Archives (Cultural Building) in Augusta on Wednesday, November 15. The free hour-long screening begins at 5:30 p.m.

A reception beginning at 4:30 p.m. precedes the screening, along with opportunities to view World War I exhibits at the Maine State Museum and Maine State Archives. A discussion will follow the film at 6:30 p.m. and will be led by representatives of South Portland-based Lone Wolf Media, who produced "Americans Underground: Secret City of World War I," and Jonathan D. Bratten, the command historian for the Maine Army National Guard, who appears in it.

The film shows the expansive network of abandoned underground quarries, mines, and natural caverns located along World War I's Western Front in France. Depending on the position of the front lines, the quarries sheltered soldiers from both sides of the conflict. The film includes extensive footage of the underground rooms, some wired with electricity and with their own water supply. It also takes a fascinating look at the names and images carved into the limestone walls one hundred years ago by Yankee Division soldiers, including several members of Maine's Passamaquoddy tribe, who billeted there.

"Americans Underground: The Secret City of World War I" is co-sponsored by AARP Maine, Smithsonian Channel, and the Maine State Museum, Library, and Archives.