The National Archives opened our newest exhibition, Remembering Vietnam: Twelve Critical Episodes in the Vietnam War on November 10, 2017. The exhibit examines 12 critical episodes in the Vietnam War to provide a framework for understanding the decisions that led to war, events & consequences of the war, and its legacy. This 3,000-square-foot exhibit uses more than 80 original records from the National Archives â including newly declassified documents â to critically reexamine major events & turning points in the war & address three critical questions about the Vietnam War: Why did the United States get involved? Why did the war last so long? Why was it so controversial?
More than 50 years after the United States committed combat troops to the war in Vietnam, & more than 40 years since the war ended, the complexity of the conflict is still being unraveled. Historians continue to make discoveries in National Archivesâ records that provide insight into this critical period.
Remembering Vietnam follows the trajectory of American involvement in Vietnam through six Presidential administrations, & from its Worldwide War II origins to the fall of Saigon in 1975. This groundbreaking exhibit uses original National Archives documents, artifacts, & film footage to explore the policies and decisions that initiated & then escalated American economic and military aid to South Vietnam. Interviews with Vets, journalists, members of the peace movement, Vietnamese civilians, and leading Vietnam War historians provide first-person testimony & analysis of the events. These interviews & historic film footage will be screened in three mini-theaters within the exhibition.
In honor of this exhibit opening, Vietnam-era helicopters arrived & were installed on the grounds of the National Archives in Washington, DC in time for Friday’s opening of the new exhibit.
The helicopters, provided by the North Carolina Vietnam Helicopter Pilots Association, arrived after dark November 6, and were offloaded with cranes & moved onto the lawn, where they remained throughout the opening weekend. The public was invited to tour the aircraft & speak to members of the association who were all pilots of these types of aircraft during the war.Â In addition to the helicopter display, the National Archives will host many special programs this fall to mark its first-ever Vietnam War exhibit.
To learn more about the Vietnam War and see the resources available at the National Archives, weâve also developed a Vietnam War research portal. The National Archives has a wealth of records & information documenting the U.S. experience in the Vietnam conflict, including photographs, textual & electronic records, audiovisual recordings, exhibits, educational resources, articles, blog posts, lectures, & events. This portal creates a central space for all National Archives resources & content related to the Vietnam War for use by researchers, students & educators, museum goers, Veteran, & those curious about the conflict.
Remembering Vietnam is completely free & open to the public, & will be on display in the Lawrence F. OâBrien Gallery of the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, through January 6, 2019. It is presented in part by the Lawrence F. OâBrien Family, Pritzker Military Museum & Library, AARP, FedEx Corporation, & the National Archives Foundation. Additional support provided by the Maris S. Cuneo Foundation, The Eliasberg Family Foundation, Inc., and HISTORYâ.