Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund and the National Park Service Unveil Items Left at The Wall – The Virtual Collection

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMore than 400,000 items have been left at The Wall. Each item symbolizes messages to the more than 58,000 who died in Vietnam, showing the true cost of war, and that a nation is still healing.

On August 6, a selection of these items became available for view online. They are a part of Items Left at The Wall – a virtual collection of nearly 500 items left at The Wall. This is the largest exhibit of items left at The Wall to be made available online. You can explore the collection at vvmf.org/items.

Since its dedication in 1982, visitors to The Wall have been compelled to resolve something, face loss, and begin the healing process. The act of leaving an offering is a familiar occurrence with people leaving everything from letters and teddy bears, to worn out combat boots.

Framed print of an acrylic painting entitled,

Framed print of an acrylic painting entitled, “YOU ARE NOT FORGOTTEN” by artist and Vietnam veteran Roger Allen Williams.

All of these items, some unmarked, are collected at the end of each day by The National Park Service. These items are safely stored in the National Park Service’s Museum Resource Center (MCRE) in Landover, Maryland. There, they are catalogued and curated for eventual display at the future Education Center.

The VVMF Collections team carefully chooses objects  for future display at the Education Center that will help illustrate and provide a discussion from everything around the social impacts of loss, to politics. Artifacts chosen for the future Education Center may also make the connection of relevance to current and future generations. To show a more accurate representation of what some items convey, artifacts can also be chosen to be highlighted if they show a direct connection to a name listed on The Wall or if there is reliable information and evidence of who left it.

For now, the Virtual Collection gives visitors to the VVMF website a first-hand look at what they can expect when the Education Center is fully funded and built.

“These items tell an important story about the Vietnam War and era. Making these items available to the public is an important step toward building the Education Center at The Wall,” said Jim Knotts, president and CEO of VVMF about the launch of the Virtual Collection.  “I know website visitors will be awed and moved as they learn about these items, and they will understand how magnificent it will be to see 4,000-6,000 actual items on display once the Education Center is funded and built.”

Read the official press release on the launch of the Virtual Collection here.

You can also read the Washington Post’s article on items left at The Wall, here.

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