Jump to Navigation

Kansas Museum of History - Captured

James Hughes

The Kansas Museum of History presents Captured: The Extraordinary Adventures of Colonel Hughes, May 28, 2016 - December 2, 2018, recipient of the American Association of State and Local History 2017 Leadership in History Award.

Eighty thousand Kansans served in World War I.  Two hundred and twenty-seven thousand served in World War II.  We pay tribute to all Kansas soldiers, past and present, by telling the story of one Kansas soldier, James Clark Hughes. 

Hughes’ story is both common and exceptional.  He was born in Topeka in 1888. The timing of his birth, the influence of his military father, and the impact of world politics shaped his life. He began his service as a member of the Kansas National Guard and was sent to the Texas border with the American Expeditionary Forces in 1916.  As a member of the U.S. Army he served from 1917 to 1948 and fought in both world wars. He left many detailed records of his time in service.  He photographed battlefields and towns in Europe, recorded his daily survival as a Japanese Prisoner of War (POW), and saving many belongings from the wars that were later donated to this museum.  In essence, he captured his life. 

See this extraordinary collection:

  • Uniform he wore as a member of the 130th Field Artillery in the Kansas National Guard
  • Photographs of France, Germany, and Belgium he took in 1919 as part of the 35th Division’s Army of Occupation
  • Many photographs of the same locations taken in 2000
  • Heavily patched pants he wore in four Japanese POW camps
  • Red Cross items he brought home after 41 months as a POW
  • Entries from his daily POW diary
  • See artifacts in this exhibit
  • Read more about Colonel Hughes

Kansas World War I 100th AnniversarySee a flag that flew over the U.S.S. Ralph Talbot at Pearl Harbor.

Museum After Hours - our year-long program series, monthly at 6:30 p.m. Fridays, complements this special exhibit.

During this 100th anniversary of World War I, we present this man and the world events that impacted the lives of so many Kansans.

The Kansas Museum of History is located at 6425 SW 6th Avenue, Topeka. For more information, contact 785-272-8681; kansasmuseum@kshs.org.

9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Tuesday - Saturday