Arts

Atlanta History Center’s Vietnam War Exhibit Delivers Firsthand Perspectives

Vietnamese Children with Army Captain Philip Smith, 48th Assault Helicopter Company, unidentified photographer, circa 1970
Credit Courtesy of the Atlanta History Center
Audio version of this story here.

In the United States and around the world, 1968 was a tumultuous year. There were assassinations and riots on the ground in the United States, and abroad, the Vietnam War intensified with the Tet Offensive.

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The Atlanta History Center is commemorating that event and the war with an exhibit of oral histories, objects and photographs called “More Than Self: Living the Vietnam War.” It stems from the center’s larger Veterans History Project that started in 1999, which collects veterans’ stories through interviews usually with other veterans.

“It’s an opportunity for anyone to hear what happened from the people who experienced it. I like to say I’m a recovering middle school teacher and would have given anything to have access to these collections when I was teaching school,” said Sue Verhoef, the Atlanta History Center’s Director of Oral History and Genealogy in an interview with Lois Reitzes. “It’s just so important for school children, for families, for many of these men and women their families are so grateful these stories have been preserved.”

The exhibit is divided into six sections under themes that were commonly discussed in the interviews. Along with the oral histories and photographs, there are objects ranging from weaponry to can openers to pajamas worn by prisoners of war.

“More Than Self: Living the Vietnam War” is on view there through March 18 at the Atlanta History Center.