3 Replies Latest reply on Jul 24, 2020 2:33 PM by Erin Perkins

    where can I find a home for Vietnam war photos?


      A really good photographer friend has lots of photos he took while serving in the Vietnam war. He doesn't have any family and has cancer now. I hate to see his photos end up in a dumpster. What institution can they be donated to?

        • Re: where can I find a home for Vietnam war photos?
          Jason Atkinson Ranger

          Dear Ms. Rosar,


          Thank you for posting your request to History Hub!

          To inquire about donating photographs to the National Archives and Records Administration, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Still Pictures (RDSS) at stillpix@nara.gov. Gift Collection Acquisition Policy: Still Pictures provides some information about the criteria that RDSS uses for evaluating potential donated records.

          The Library of Congress’s Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. In addition to audio- and video-recorded oral history interviews, VHP accepts memoirs and collections of original photographs, letters, diaries, maps and other historical documents from veterans who served in the US armed services from World War I through the present.

          The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History collects a variety of material related to American history, to include military history. Other Smithsonian museums might be interested if the photographs relate to their particular focus, such as the Air and Space Museum collecting materials that document military aviation, the National Museum of African American History and Culture documenting the experiences of African American veterans, etc. 

          All five of the military services have or are constructing national museums. In addition to the national museums, there are many other official military museums affiliated with specific organizations within each branch of the military. For example the U.S. Center for Military History has a list on their website of all the official Army museums

          The National Vietnam War Museum is a private non-profit working to build a museum dedicated to the war. Their contact information is here.

          Another option is to approach local and state level historical societies, libraries, archives and museums, both for the current residence of the veteran and (if different)  where he was born or was living at the time of his induction into the armed forces. Some states and localities even have military museums dedicated to documenting the experience of veterans from their area, such as the Military Museum of Fort Worth and the Maine Military Museum, the Livingston County War Museum, and many others.

          If your friend is a university graduate, the institution he graduated from may be interested in his photographs.  Some university libraries also have as a special collecting focus material related to Vietnam and will accept donations from non-alumni.

          See the Directory of Archival and Manuscript Collections related to the Experience of the Vietnam War for a list of additional institutions that have Vietnam War related collections.  Some of these institutions may be open to further donations.

          See also the following page from the Society of American Archivists about some of the considerations involved in donating personal papers -- https://www2.archivists.org/publications/brochures/donating-familyrecs

          We hope this information is helpful!


          3 people found this helpful
          • Re: where can I find a home for Vietnam war photos?

            If you have a local Chapter of the Vietnam Veterans of America, they may be interested in the photographs as well.   The main office for Vietnam Veterans of America is in Silver Spring, MD.   Their # is 301-585-4000.   They could direct you to a local Chapter.

            1 person found this helpful
            • Re: where can I find a home for Vietnam war photos?
              Erin Perkins Newbie

              What an amazing list of places for not only donation, but for research. Thank you!


              May I be so bold to offer an additional option - myself. I am researching the Vietnam War, specifically Vietnam Combat photographers for my Master's degree at Cal State Fullerton. Was your friend by chance a military photographer during the war? If so I would be very happy to have the photos for my project, as well as conduct an oral history interview with him if he is able/willing.


              Even if he does not fall into that category, I would love to hear more from him if he is interested in documenting his story. 


              Thank you!