Art of the American Soldier Exhibition at The National Constitution Center

Never-before-seen collection of soldier artwork 100 years in the making

Philadelphia, PA – More than 15,000 paintings and sketches created by over 1,300 American soldiers in the line of duty have been in curatorial storage in Washington, D.C. for decades, seldom made available for public viewing.

Art of the American Soldier will bring these powerful works of art into the spotlight at the National Constitution Center from September 24, 2010 through January 10, 2011. The exhibition, featuring a never-before-seen collection, was created by the Center in partnership with the U.S. Army Center of Military History and the National Museum of the United States Army. Following its world debut at the Center, the exhibition will begin a national tour. Beginning today, tickets to the exhibition are available for purchase at 215.409.6700 or on the Center’s website at www.constitutioncenter.org

Army Art Program History
The U.S. Army’s art program began during World War I, and continued through World War II, resulting in the creation of over 2,000 pieces of art. In 1945, the Army established its Historical Division, with responsibilities including the preservation of these works. The collection also includes artwork by artists who were sent to document the Vietnam War, as well as works from soldier-artists who are currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Despite its impressive collection, the Army is the only United States armed service without a national museum. The Army Historical Foundation, in partnership with the U.S. Army, is currently spearheading a campaign to create the National Museum of the United States Army.

“This highly important collection, never before on public exhibit, portrays the spirit of America’s sons and daughters who have answered the call to defend our Nation,” said Colonel (ret) Robert J. Dalessandro, Assistant Chief of Military History, Center of Military History.

“The National Constitution Center is proud to make this remarkable collection available to the public for the first time. Though this visual record is familiar to few, it is no less powerful in its ability to convey and evoke the human experience of military conflict,” said National Constitution Center President and CEO David Eisner. “These first-hand expressions of the realities of war uniquely and vividly trace the lives of the brave men and women who have answered the Constitution’s call to ‘provide for the common defense.’”

About the U.S. Army Center of Military History
The U.S Army Center of Military History is responsible for the appropriate use of history throughout the United States Army. Traditionally, this mission has meant recording the official history of the Army in both peace and war, while advising the Army Staff on historical matters. The Center spearheads the Army’s historical efforts providing historical support to the Army, contributing essential background information for decision making, staff actions, command information programs, and public statements by Army officials. Over the decades it also has progressively expanded its role in the vital areas of military history education, the management of the Army’s museum system. The Center’s work with Army schools ensures that the study of history is a significant part of the training of officers and noncommissioned officers. It also supports the use of history to foster unit pride and give today’s soldiers an understanding of the Army’s past. The Center thus provides to all levels of the Army, as well as other services, government agencies, and the public, with a growing awareness of history that goes well beyond publications. For additional information, visit the Center of Military History website at www.history.army.mil.

About the National Constitution Center
The National Constitution Center, located at 525 Arch St. on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall, is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing public understanding of the U.S. Constitution and the ideas and values it represents. The Center serves as a museum, an education center, and a forum for debate on constitutional issues. The museum dramatically tells the story of the
Constitution from Revolutionary times to the present through more than 100 interactive, multimedia exhibits, film, photographs, text, sculpture and artifacts, and features a powerful, award-winning theatrical performance, “Freedom Rising.” The Center also houses the Annenberg Center for Education and Outreach, which serves as the hub for national constitutional education. Also, as a nonpartisan forum for constitutional discourse, the Center presents – without endorsement – programs that contain diverse viewpoints on a broad range of issues. For more information, call 215.409.6700 or visit www.constitutioncenter.org

Image: hat 2,000 Yard Stare by Tom Lea, WWII, 1944

2 Enlightened Replies

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  1. It is amazing the things that people can come up with for artwork, especially when it comes to times of war and heartache. Thanks for posting this I really appreciate it.

  2. Thomas F. Valent says:

    I’ll be there for the opening weekend. I’m really looking forward to seeing this exhibit.

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