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The Marines and Tet
Mondays-Saturdays 9am-5pm; Sundays 10am-5pm
On the 50th anniversary of the Tet Offensive, The Marines and Tet: The Battle That Changed the Vietnam War will showcase the work of John Olson, a young photographer with Stars and Stripes who spent three days with the Marines at the 1968 Battle of Huêˊ (pronounced hway), the bloodiest single battle of the Vietnam War. Huêˊ was one of more than 100 cities and villages that North Vietnamese forces struck with a surprise attack on the holiday known as Tet.
This innovative exhibit will feature 20 large-format photographs and 10 tactile versions of those photographs with touch-activated sensors that provide audio interviews, allowing blind and low-vision visitors to experience the images through touch and sound. The Newseum is the first museum in the United States to host a major tactile exhibit designed to include blind and low-vision visitors.
Olsons photographs were featured in Life magazine, and he won the Robert Capa Gold Medal for his work. His image of a tank carrying wounded Marines at the Battle of Huêˊ became one of the most iconic images of the Vietnam War.
The exhibit will also include unique artifacts, including Nikon cameras that Olson used in Vietnam and personal items from the Marines, as well as newspapers and magazines that published Olsons photography. Ten Marines were interviewed for the exhibit, including the battalion and company commanders, some of them revealing their stories publicly for the first time.
Some of the Marines in Olsons photographs have been identified, but others remain nameless. As part of his mission to identify all the men in the photos, Olson has set up www.tet1968.com, a website that allows the public to assist with his research and share their stories of Tet.