In the ‘60s and ‘70s, thousands of Louisianans in uniform entered a world of combat over 9,000 miles away from their home. When the Vietnam War ended, roughly 58,000 Americans were killed, and among those were almost 1,000 of our own. Now, nearly 50 years later, we can remember the fallen through photographs that shows the most intimate parts of the war.
The West Baton Rouge Museum will open on Nov. 3 a new exhibition from the National Archives titled “Picturing Nam: U.S. Military Photography of the Vietnam War.” The exhibit will be open through early January 2019, and will highlight the “collective memory” of the Vietnam War.
The West Baton Rouge Museum is open Tuesday through Saturday at 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday 2 to 5 p.m. The museum is located at 845 N. Jefferson Ave. in Port Allen.
Military photographers stationed in Vietnam took thousands of photographs to cover every aspect of the conflict — photographs that are now a part of the National Archives. Their assignments sent them everywhere from jungles and swamps to forward bases, hospital ships, rivers and even air bases. The uncensored images give an intimate and ground up view of the war and those who fought it.
“Picturing Nam” is divided into three themes to represent different aspects of the war: landscapes, objects and faces. The program is designed to bring veterans and their families together with the general public to show appreciation for veterans’ service and sacrifices to protect freedom and the nation’s safety.
“Picturing Nam” is organized by the National Archives and Records Administration, and it is traveled by the National Archives Traveling Exhibits Service (NATES). It is presented in part by the Lawrence F. O’Brien Family, Pritzker Military Museum & Library, AARP and the National Archives Foundation.
If you love history and art, you’ll have a chance to see both topics at the “Picturing Nam” exhibit. However, if you prefer art without the tragedy of war attached to it, the West Baton Rouge Museum has another exhibit for those who love art and culture.
The museum is also currently showing “Malaika Favorite: Washboard City,” which highlights Louisiana folk artist Malaika Favorite and her creative interpretations of history. In her latest series, “Washboard City,” scrub-boards are used as a symbol of the hard work, discipline and determination of black women in the south.
The “Washboard City” exhibit is now open and will close in early January 2019. Favorite is a visual artist and writer whose folk art is featured in private, corporate and museum collections across the country.
Favorite is a 1973 master’s of fine arts graduate from the University and received the Michael Crespo Visual Artist Fellowship from the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge in 2018.
For more information, call 225-336-2422 ext. 200 or visit www.westbatonrougemuseum.com.