"Personal Legacy: The Healing of a Nation," the first public exhibition of objects from the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Collection, opened at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History on October 27, 1992. The loan exhibition was one of the first major exhibit collaborations of any kind between the NPS and the Smithsonian. According to the Smithsonian's public affairs office, an estimated 75,000 to 100,000 visitors viewed the exhibition during its scheduled six-month showing. The popularity of this exhibit prompted a one-year extension. It was then determined that the exhibit would be extended indefinitely, and it is still on view as of this writing.
The approximately 1,500 artifacts exemplify the enormous variety in the exhibit, including both military and non-military items. New items are periodically added. The items are grouped roughly by time period; the categories are 1982-85, 1986-87, 1988-89, and 1990-1991. Nothing that was left after September 1991 is included in the exhibit, with the exception of a few items left at the opening of the Vietnam Women's Memorial in 1993.
Some highlights of the exhibit include:
HOW TO VISIT THE EXHIBIT: The exhibit is located on the third floor on the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History in Washington, DC. The museum is at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW on the National Mall, near the Federal Triangle metro stop on the blue and orange lines; it is open 10:00-5:30 every day except Christmas. For more information about the museum, call 202-357-2700 (TTY 202-357-1729) or write to: NMAH, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC 20560. There is no charge for admission to the museum. The museum is only a few blocks from the Memorial itself; it is easy to see both in one day's visit.
Visit this exhibit at the Smithsonian Photographic Services' web page; it includes more pictures of the artifacts in the exhibit. You can also visit the main Smithsonian home page.
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