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Upcountry History Museum Presents a Vietnam War Photography Exhibit

A group of American soldiers resting after battle.
NATIONAL ARCHIVES/AFP/Getty Images

Photographs are a powerful part of our collective memory of the Vietnam War. Many of the iconic photographs were taken by photojournalists working for newspapers, magazines, or wire services.

But there were also military photographers in Vietnam serving in our armed forces. They took thousands of photographs that covered every aspect of the conflict –photographs that are now a part of our National Archives.

Military photographers were sent everywhere: the jungles and swamps, forward bases, hospital ships, rivers, and air bases. Unsanitized and uncensored, these indelible images give an intimate view of the war and those who fought it.

The exhibition, divided into three themes, includes over forty photographs, murals, and first-hand accounts from the men and women who documented American Armed Forces activities in Vietnam. It remains on view through October 21st at the Upcountry History Museum, 540 Buncombe Street, Greenville, SC 29601.

The exhibit features three photographic themes:

Landscapes – Most Americans knew almost nothing about Vietnam before the war. Many soldiers, sailors, and airmen seeing Vietnam’s dense jungles, rugged mountains, murky swamps, endless rice paddies, and brown rivers for the first time must have felt very far from home.

Objects – Wars are often summed up and remembered through artifacts. The Vietnam War created its own set of memorable objects, many of which appear in military photographs,including helicopters, M-16 rifles, graffiti-covered helmets, Phantom jets, peace symbol necklaces, and body bags.

Faces – War puts individuals into extraordinary and dangerous situations. Such circumstances fostered determination, anxiety, exhaustion, boredom, compassion, exaltation, and dread—-feelings that are seen in the faces of those who were there.

More than fifty years after the United States committed combat troops to the war in Vietnam, and more than forty years since the war ended, the complexity of the conflict is still being unraveled. This groundbreaking exhibit uses original National Archives documents and photographs to provide a framework for understanding the decisions that led to the war, the events and consequences of the war, and its legacy.

Please visit www.upcountryhistory.org for additional information. General admission tickets for non-members are $9 for adults, $7 for children, and $8 for seniors. General admission allows the ticket holder to view all exhibits within the Museum including any changing exhibit currently on display.

Sponsored by: 3M, Lockheed Martin, WSPA Channel 7, Lima Once Capital