In 1981, a few Vietnam combat veterans put together an artistic and historical collection that would become a timeless, humanistic statement of war on behalf of all veterans for future generations.Add National Veterans Art Museum and other attractions to your Chicago trip itinerary using our Chicago trip planner.
The Vietnam Veterans Art Group formed in Chicago in 1981. One year later, the group mounted its first exhibit of veteran artwork entitled “Reflexes and Reflections.” The exhibit toured museums and galleries nationwide.
The overwhelming emotional response to the work, along with an increasing amount of contributions by artists, led to the official establishment of a permanent museum. Upon viewing the collection, Mayor Richard Daley was so personally moved that he allocated a permanent building to house the collection.
The National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum opened its doors at the original location at 1801 S. Indiana Avenue in 1996.
Since 2003, the museum has broadened its mission to include art by veterans of all wars. In 2010, the word Vietnam was dropped the from and we became the National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM). Today, the NVAM houses more than 2,500 works of art, including paintings, photography, sculpture, poetry and music. All works in the Museum’s permanent collection were created by more than 255 artists who are veterans of American conflicts. The artwork showcased at the museum provide unique viewpoint on the controversial subject of war to all. It is a tenuous and reflective balance of beauty and horror, giving unique insight into the psyche of combat veterans and consequential hindsight war
leaves on its survivors.
Opening on Veterans Day, November 11, 2012, the museum recently relocated from its original location to its new home in center of the historical Portage Park neighborhood of the city of Chicago.
National Veterans Art Museum
4041 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Second Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60641
National Veterans Art Museum Reviews
How many military museums have you visited that are dedicated to veterans of the Vietnam War? It wasn't a popular conflict so, as a matter of political correctness, it usually receives second billing.... more »
We happened to be visiting a relative nearby, and this museum was recommended to us. It is on the second floor, so you do have to be alert to find it. We were greeted warmly. It is art by all... more »
I didn't know this museum existed, but after seeing it on Google Maps I wanted to stop by. Admission to NVAM is totally free; I do recommend showing supporting with a small donation or purchasing something from the shop. The space is smaller than expected, but it's filled with a variety of art and you can spend quite a bit of time going through everything. My husband and I spent about an hour and a half and the location wasn't crowded at all so we didn't feel rushed at all. If you're already going to be in the area or you're another Chicago vet looking for a cool museum, I highly recommend this place. :)
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