NEWPORT NEWS — In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, the Virgnia War Museum opened a new exhibit Friday.
While the museum has always had a Vietnam War section, which depicts memorabilia from all of the military branches, the new exhibit has both North Vietnamese and South Vietnamese equipment and uniforms and other artifacts never before displayed, according to a news release from the musem.
The Virginia War Museum is run by the city, but most of the museum’s items have been donated or loaned from Vietnam veterans, and has been affiliated with the American Legion for years.
“It’s very well balanced,” said Chris Garcia, education coordinator for the Virginia War Museum.
Garcia, a Navy veteran and military historian, has been working at the museum for 10 years. He and the rest of the museum’s staff, have been planning the new exhibit for about one year.
In the final stages of planning, one of the museums’s volunteers, LTC Mel Bailey, died. Bailey had been a major part of the planning process and volunteered at the museum for about 12 years, Garcia said.
Admiral John S. McCain Jr.‘s uniform will also be on display. McCain was the commander of the Pacific Fleet from 1968 to 1972 and his uniform was donated to the museum about 45 years ago, Garcia said.
McCain’s son, Sen. John McCain, also a Vietnam veteran and prisoner of war, died Saturday.
The Vietnam War exhibit will be dedicated to not only the men and women who served in the conflict, but also to Bailey. The exhibit is included with museum admission and will remain open until 2020.
The Virginia War Museum is open seven days a week, Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m. and Sundays 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $6 for kids, $8 for adults and $7 for senior citizens and active duty personnel.
For information, visit the museum’s website or call 757-247-8523.