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Remembering Vietnam exhibit examining the war opens at National Archives in Nov.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The National Archives will open a new exhibition, Remembering Vietnam: Twelve Critical Episodes in the Vietnam War, Nov. 10, 2017.

The exhibit examines 12 critical episodes in the Vietnam War providing a framework for understanding the decisions that led to war, events and consequences of the war, and its legacy.

The 3,000-square-foot exhibit uses more than 80 original records from the National Archives – including newly declassified documents – to critically re-examine major events and turning points in the war and to 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?

Remembering Vietnam is free and open to the public, and will be on display in the Lawrence F. O’Brien Gallery of the National Archives Museum in Washington, DC, through Jan. 6, 2019.

More than 50 years after the United States committed combat troops to the war in Vietnam, and more than 40 years since the war ended, the complexity of the conflict is still being unraveled. Remembering Vietnam follows the trajectory of American involvement in Vietnam through six presidential administrations, and from its World War II origins to the fall of Saigon in 1975.

This groundbreaking exhibit uses original National Archives documents, artifacts, and film footage to explore the policies and decisions that initiated and then escalated American economic and military aid to South Vietnam.

Interviews with veterans, journalists, members of the peace movement, Vietnamese civilians, and leading Vietnam War historians provide first-person testimony and analysis of the events.

Creative exhibit highlights:

  • A Visitor Input Station to share experiences, reactions, and memories of the war
  • An Oval Office Audio Experience: Hear Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon discuss the war with a protester in the background
  • Listen to the famous “Domino Theory” audio recording from President Eisenhower’s April 7, 1954, press conference
  • See an elephant tusk lamp - a gift to President Eisenhower from Ngo Din Diem
  • Hear audio of a meeting between President Kennedy and his National Security Council on the question of supporting a coup in South Vietnam
  • See the cable reporting the alleged second attack on the USS Maddox that led to the passage of the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution
  • View the CIA’s model of the Hanoi Hilton
  • Read transcripts of radio intercepts of helicopter pilots during the Saigon airlifts
  • See a pair of original baby shoes from one of the Saigon airlifts
  • Examine architect Maya Lin’s Vietnam memorial drawing