If you’ve streamed your way through all ten episodes of the Ken Burns Vietnam documentary and still want to make a friend of Horror, head over to the New-York Historical Society for their Vietnam War: 1945-1975 exhibition.
The exhibition is ambitious in scope, attempting to distill and explore the full arc of the disastrous war's “causes, progression, and consequences.” The exhibition looks at specific episodes from the war, with installations on the 1968 Tet Offensive and the 1970 Cambodia campaign, but keeps its thematic eye focused on the ways in which the war cut to the core of American self-image and challenged cherished ideals of patriotism and citizenship in a supposedly democratic society.
The NYHS has filled a 3,000-square-foot gallery with an impressive selection of historical film footage, photographs, artwork, artifacts, and documents related to both the home front and the frontlines. In addition to exploring military campaigns on both sides, the exhibition grapples with the larger context of the Cold War as well as social tensions in the U.S., including the antiwar movement, the splintering of political consensus, and the draft.
The exhibit, curated by Marci Reaven, features a troopship berthing unit and a Viet Cong bicycle alongside antiwar posters and veterans’ artwork. NYHS has leaned in on digital as well, with a rich exhibition website. Before you go, check out oral histories collected by high school students, a playlist that evokes a range of cultural moments from the period with songs by Nancy Sinatra, Aretha Franklin, and Buffalo Springfield, and a documentary short that explores the story behind the Marvin Gaye song “What’s Happening Brother.”
Now through April 22nd, 2018, Closed Mondays // New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, Manhattan // General admission is $21; Student admission is $13