NVVAM's collection has more than 800 pieces representing more than 170 artists, three floors of exhibit space, and a theater space named in honor of comedian Bob Hope.
Location and Hours:
1801 S. Indiana Avenue
Chicago, IL 60616
National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum Home Page
Open Tues to Sat, 11a-6p
Open Sat, 10a-5p
Also open on major veterans' holidays such as Memorial Day and Veteran's Day.
Members and Personnel on Active Duty, Free
General Admission, $10
Link to Directions
NVVAM is located on the southeast corner of Indiana Avenue and 18th Street.
Although NVVAM was initially founded to display work from Vietnam veterans, its mission expanded in 2003 to include art created from experiences in all the nation's conflicts.
Statement on the Lobby Wall:
"If you hold a real weapon in your hand, you will feel its character strongly. It begs to be used. It is fearsome. It's only purpose is death, and it's only power is not just in the material from which it was made, but also from the intention of its makers.
"It is regreattable that sometimes weapons must be used, but occasionally, survival demands it. The wise go forth with weapons only as a last resort. They never rejoice in the skill of weapons, nor do they glorify war.
"When death, pain, and destruction are visited upon what you hold to be the most sacred, the spiritual price is devastating. What hurts more than one's own suffering is bearing witness to the suffering of others. The regret of seeing human beings at their worst and the sheer pain of not being able to help the victims can never be redeemed.
"If you go personally to war, you cross the line yourself. You sacrifice ideals for survival and fury of killing. That alters you forever. That is why no one rushes to be a soldier. Think before you want to change so unalterably. The stakes are not merely one's life, but one's very humanity."--"Thoughts on War" quoted from Deng Ming-Dao, a Taoist monk, several hundred years before Christ.
I found the art moving, and often intense, but rarely predictable. It was well beyond mere expressions of the experience of war. Rather, the art seemed to be the war internalized, experienced, and pieced back together through each artist's reckoning with aspects of his or her humanity.
When you enter NVVAM's lobby, be sure to look up to view "Above & Beyond," one of the museum's only permanent exhibits. It was created using dog tags to represent each soldier killed in Vietnam.
- "Above & Beyond"
- Concept: Rich Steinboch & Ned Broderick
- Design: Mike Helbing & Joe Fornelli
While visiting the NVVAM, you may want to consider visiting these other attractions:
Cafe Society Coffeehouse
Located in the NVVAM lobby.
1801 S. Indiana Ave.
The Glessner House Museum
1800 South Prairie Avenue
Chicago, IL 60616
The Clarke House Museum
1827 S. Indiana Avenue
Prairie Avenue Landmark District
1800, 1900 Blocks of South Prairie Avenue
1800 block of South Indiana
211-217 E. Cullerton