National Veterans Art Museum to move

March 28, 2012 3:35:54 PM PDT
After calling the South Loop home for 16 years, the National Veterans Art Museum has to move out.

The space at 18th and Indiana, owned by the Chicago Park District, will become a much-needed neighborhood recreation center now that the museum's lease is up.

"Our lease was scheduled to up at the end of April this year, but we needed a little bit more time to identify a new home and so the Park District was kind enough to extend it to the end of August of this year," Levi Moore, executive director, said.

The museum is no longer just about the Vietnam War. Now it's about all wars Americans have been involved in. It's art that stirs the soul and examines our conscience and takes us into the impact of combat.

"A lot of our art. You may see the pictures of what actually happened on the battlefield. But I think even greater ... sometimes you'll get a glimpse into that person's mind and what they were experiencing," Moore said.

The museum has more than 2,000 works of art that will have to be moved. Some of them are on exhibit and many more are in storage. Perhaps the most difficult challenge will involve the museum's most famous exhibit, which involves thousands of dog tags -- 58,211 of them. On each dog tag is the name of a Marine or soldier killed in Vietnam.

"That brave person," Joseph Fornelli said of the exhibit. The Vietnam vet knows some of the men who wore those tags. "Enough, enough. Yeah, guys from Chicago and my unit."

The museum has leads on two new locations but nothing can be announced yet.