The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund (VVMF) has received a $10 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. towards the planned Education Centre at The Wall in Washington DC.

This is the largest single cash donation in VVMF’s history.

The Wall was created in 1982 to honour the dead and educate the living about the impact of the Vietnam War.

The 25,000-square-foot Education Centre has been envisioned as an interactive learning facility. It is intended to explain the context, share the stories and honour the sacrifices of those involved in the war.

Wall of Faces

Multimedia exhibits will display eye-witness accounts of veterans and citizens who lived through the Vietnam War.

A key exhibit will be the two-storey Wall of Faces that puts faces to the 58,315 names on the memorial. Another exhibit will display around 6,000 of the 400,000 items that have been left by visitors to the site. Also, an immersive educational experience is set to include the Legacy of Service Hall and the Partners in Service exhibit.

The building has been designed by Ennead Architects and the exhibits have been developed by Ralph Appelbaum Associates.

“As VVMF commemorates the 35th anniversary of The Wall and its impact on America, it’s important to point out that our work is not done,” reported Jim Knotts, President and CEO of VVMF.

“With each passing day, we are losing the voices that can tell the first-hand accounts of the Vietnam War and era.”

Just like The Wall itself, the Education Centre is having to rely on private donations. It is hoped that the Lilly Endowment gift will act as a springboard to secure the rest of the funds required.

Lilly Endowment Inc. is an Indianapolis-based, private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by J.K. Lilly Sr. and his sons J.K. Jr and Eli through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company.

“We hope that many others will join us in supporting this important effort to preserve and tell the stories of the veterans of the Vietnam War for future generations,” added N. Clay Robbins, the Endowment’s Chairman, President and CEO.

Rendering by Ralph Appelbaum Associates