Maya Lin’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial represents an understanding that the war’s fallen are better honored by silence than explanation. Yet this self-restraint has led the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund, the organization that funded and built the Memorial, to lobby for some exegesis: the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Center. Legislation authorizing the 25,000-square-foot center—which would include a collection of artifacts, an interactive exhibition, and a resource library—passed in 2003, and a site was approved in August.
“The Wall doesn’t tell a story about individuals or about the larger war itself,” says James Polshek, the architect who has been enlisted to design the new museum. “More than anything, that justifies the creation of this Center, which is not necessarily for all of us alive today. It’s for future generations and younger generations.”