The National Veterans Art Museum inspires greater understanding of the impact of war with a focus on Vietnam. The museum collects, preserves and exhibits art inspired by combat and created by veterans.
The National Veterans Art Museum is dedicated to the collection, preservation and exhibition of art inspired by combat and created by veterans.
Since its inception in 1981, the NVAM has been a space for military personnel, veterans, and civilians to open a dialogue over the impact of war. All artwork is created by veterans.
The truly unique museum features work by combat veterans from all conflicts. The National Veterans Art Museum also has many educational opportunities to help you access, explore and connect with our one-of-a-kind collection.
Originally Incorporated in 1982 as the Vietnam Veterans Art Group, NVAM is proud to be recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) organization.
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.
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, and we became the National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM). Today, NVAM’s Permanent Collection features more than 255 veteran artists, and consists of more than 2,500 works of art, including paintings, photography, sculpture, poetry and music. The artwork showcased at NVAM provides a unique perspective on the controversial subject of war to all. It is a tenuous and reflective balance of beauty and horror, providing unique insight into the psyche of combat veterans and the consequential impact war leaves on its survivors.