Thursday, Jan. 24, Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum will open a new exhibition from the National Archives, Picturing Nam: U.S. Military Photography of the Vietnam War. Photographs are a powerful part of our collective memory of the Vietnam War. Military photographers stationed in Vietnam took thousands of photographs that covered every aspect of the conflict—photographs that are now part of our National Archives. Their assignments sent them everywhere: the jungles and swamps, forward bases, hospital ships, rivers, and air bases. Unsanitized and uncensored, these indelible images give an intimate and ground up view of the war and those who fought it. This exhibit runs through Sunday, March 31 and is part of Patriots Point’s ongoing commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War. The museum is a commemorative partner of the United States Department of Defense.
Picturing Nam is divided into three themes:
- Landscapes – Most Americans knew almost nothing about Vietnam before the war. Many soldiers, sailors, and airmen seeing Vietnam’s dense jungles, rugged mountains, murky swamps, endless rice paddies, and brown rivers for the first time must have felt very far from home.
- Objects – Wars are often summed up and remembered through artifacts. The Vietnam War created its own set of memorable objects, many of which appear in military photographs, including helicopters, M-16 rifles, graffiti-covered helmets, Phantom jets, peace symbol necklaces, and body bags.
- Faces – War puts individuals into extraordinary and dangerous situations. Such circumstances fostered determination, anxiety, exhaustion, boredom, compassion, exaltation, and dread–feelings that are seen in the faces of those who were there.
Picturing Nam will be included in the regular price of admission to the museum and open daily from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. The exhibit is made possible by the USS Yorktown Foundation and SunTrust Foundation. For more information, guests may call 843-884-2727 or visit www.patriotspoint.org. On Vietnam Veterans Day, March 29, Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum will offer free admission to all Vietnam veterans. Those who fought in the war will also be pinned with an official Vietnam Veteran lapel pin. Additional details will be announced in March.
Picturing Nam is organized by the National Archives and Records Administration, and traveled by the National Archives Traveling Exhibits Service (NATES). It is presented in part by the Lawrence F. O’Brien Family, Pritzker Military Museum & Library, AARP, and the National Archives Foundation.