This Columbus museum offers personal insight into veterans’ experiences

You’ll find one of the most impactful museums for American veterans in Columbus, Ohio. As the only museum in the country dedicated to honoring veterans of all branches of service, the National Veterans Museum and Memorial was designed to give voice to the true and complex stories of veterans. It helps visitors understand their personal experiences and better understand the sacrifices made by American veterans and their families.

The unusual and eye-catching building itself is the beginning of the story the museum tells. It was designed specifically as a tribute to the inner strength of veterans with the way the building appears to naturally rise from the ground. The exterior architecture also matches the interior design, with exhibits that line the curve of the building’s rings.

The museum’s most recent and thought-provoking exhibit is The Twenty Years’ War: Our Greatest Next Generationa temporary exhibition which is visible at the museum until October 2, 2022. It was inspired and derived from The twenty years wara book that tells the stories of 71 service members who have served their country since 9/11. The book was launched at the National Veterans Memorial and Museum on the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

Its permanent exhibits tell equally compelling true stories of struggle, victory and everything in between. In fact, the heart of the museum is really its linear timeline which makes the storytelling all the more memorable. Throughout this timeline, visitors are taken on a journey through United States history, learning how personal stories have changed and have remained the same for those who serve over the years. Artifacts and images combine throughout the timeline to help bring stories to life.

Through personal stories, the permanent Legacy of Service exhibit shows how some veterans use the skills they learned and the talents they cultivated in the military to serve their communities when they return home.

Additionally, one important thing the Legacy of Service exhibit does is allow every visitor to become a more informed part of the conversation about how we can bridge the gap between veterans and civilians. In addition to providing an immersive educational experience, it offers resources and practical ways to get involved in finding solutions.

The museum remains current and celebrates holidays such as Pride Month. For June 2022, the museum shared how important it is to honor the contributions of LGBTQIA+ members and veterans, and offered a variety of resources to engage visitors. The museum also shared stories of the experiences of gay veterans over the years, including US Army veteran Gilbert Baker who created the first rainbow flag for the gay community.

When visiting the museum, be prepared to spend a lot of time in the latter part of the experience. As you ascend to the Memorial Gallery, prepare to be amazed by the colorful stained glass windows inspired by military campaign ribbons. The heart of this area, however, is the exhibit honoring the millions who died in service to the United States.

The National Veterans Memorial and Museum is located in downtown Columbus, Ohio.

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