General Information

About the Vietnam Center

In May 1989, a group of Vietnam veterans from West Texas gathered at Texas Tech University to discuss what they might do, in a positive way, about their experiences in Vietnam. That group's immediate decision was to form a Vietnam Archive and begin collecting and preserving materials relating to the American Vietnam experience.

In November 1989, the Board of Regents of Texas Tech University established the Vietnam Center, with the dual missions of funding and guiding the development of the Vietnam Archive and encouraging continuing study of all aspects of the American Vietnam experience.

The group of veterans who first met in May 1989 were invited to form a board to provide guidance and support for the Vietnam Center. Since then, the Vietnam Center Advisory Board has met regularly to provide advice as the Vietnam Center and Archive at Texas Tech has evolved. Many of the veterans who attended the first meeting in May 1989 continue to advise the Vietnam Center today. In this way, the Vietnam Center remains very closely connected to America's Vietnam Veteran community.

The mission of the Vietnam Center at Texas Tech University is to support and encourage research and education regarding all aspects of the American Vietnam experience; promoting a greater understanding of this experience and the peoples and cultures of Southeast Asia. Its functions are threefold: support for the Vietnam Archive and the collection and preservation of pertinent historical source material; promotion of education through exhibits, classroom instruction, educational programs, and publications; and encouragement of related scholarship through organizing and hosting conferences and symposia, academic, educational, and cultural exchanges, and the publishing of scholarly research.

The Vietnam Center seeks to provide a forum for all points of view and for all topics relating to Indochina, particularly - but not limited to - the American military involvement there. At our conferences and symposia, we encourage the presentation of papers by veterans and others who directly participated in and supported wartime events as well as by individuals who opposed the war. We encourage participation by our former allies in South Vietnam but also offer the same participation to those who supported the government in Hanoi.

Similarly, we place equal importance upon preserving records relating to all aspects of the Vietnam War. It is as important to us to preserve the records of US veterans, military and civilian, who served in Southeast Asia as well as civilians active on the homefront to include the antiwar movement. We want to preserve a complete history of the war. To do otherwise would be a disservice to history.

In addition to the Vietnam Archive and its component projects, the Vietnam Center administers a number of special projects and events, including scholarships, outreach programs, and Conferences and Symposiums, as well as numerous publications, including the Friends of the Vietnam Center newsletter and the Modern Southeast Asia series in association with the Texas Tech University Press.

The Vietnam Center is also raising money for a new state-of-the-art facility that will house The Vietnam Center, Archive, and Museum. If you are interested in supporting this endeavor, please visit The Vietnam Center Building Site. If you are interested in supporting the Vietnam Center and Archive in other ways, you can contribute to our scholarships or you can donate artifacts and materials to The Vietnam Archive.

About the Archive

The Vietnam Archive mission is to collect and preserve the documentary record of the Vietnam War. The first collection received by the Archive - a package of letters from a Navy hospital corpsman to his family while serving in Vietnam - symbolizes our commitment to preserve the record of individuals and provide greater understanding of their experiences. While the Vietnam Archive continues this commitment as its primary objective, it has expanded its collection policy to include records of veterans' organizations and scholars of the period as well as other individuals and organizations who share experiences from the war in Vietnam.

The Vietnam Archive has collected millions of pages of material and tens of thousands of photographs, slides, maps, periodicals, audio, moving images, and books related to the Vietnam War, Indochina, and the impact of the war on the United States and Southeast Asia.

The preservation of historical records provides the principal means for future generations to fully understand the past. Monuments call to mind significant events, but only records provide the basis for historical narratives, insight and understanding. In this way, the Vietnam Archive stands as a living memorial to all those who played some part in the nation's "Vietnam experience." Using the Archive, all those who are interested can study and better understand the people, places and events of this critical time in history.

Donating to the Archive

The Archive accepts donations as small as a single item or as large as hundreds of boxes. Donations do not have to be organized and do not have to pertain to a famous person, event or organization. We accept papers, books, films, audio, moving images, and artifacts. If you are interested in donating to the Vietnam Archive, look for more information in our Information for Donors section.

Researching

There are two ways to conduct research using Vietnam Archive materials: in person and online, using the information provided in the Information for Researchers section and, more importantly, through the Virtual Vietnam Archive.

Contact Info and Help

Contact information for all of the elements of the Vietnam Center and Archive is available. If you are having trouble finding what you are looking for on this website, try our help page or site map.

Special Projects

Veterans Organizations

Over the past few years, the Vietnam Archive has made a concerted effort to record the histories of veterans organizations and their members. The Veterans' Association section of this website provides more information about our efforts in this area.

Vietnamese American Heritage Project

Created in 2008, the Vietnamese American Heritage Project (VAHP) supports the Vietnam Archive’s mission to document the war from all perspectives by providing documentation of the post-war social and political history of Vietnamese Americans who immigrated to the United States during and after the Vietnam conflict. A component of the archive, the VAHP is comprised of a full time Vietnamese American Heritage Archivist and one part time student assistant who collect, preserve, and make accessible to the public materials that document the experiences and contributions of Vietnamese Americans in American society. The VAHP aims to enhance the study of the Vietnamese immigration and resettlement experience by providing reference services to researchers and increasing Vietnamese American participation in the archive’s Oral History Project, conducting outreach activities, and developing cooperative relationships with other institutions dedicated to preserving Vietnamese American’s rich heritage.

Teachers' Resources Web

The goal of the Teachers Resource Web is to aid educators and students who teach and take classes on the Vietnam War. The site is intended to assist teachers and students at all levels - from primary school to college. Site materials are designed to accommodate a range of teaching and learning situations from a single 50-minute lecture that is part of a general US history class to a semester or quarter-long dedicated course focusing exclusively on the Vietnam War.

Vietnam Graffiti Project

The Vietnam Graffiti Project is dedicated to preserving and providing access to a remarkable array of historical material from various ships that supported United States military forces in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. The materials you will find here include bunk canvases, ships logs, nautical charts, and other artifacts and documents. The collection provides insight into life onboard these ships, especially troop transports.

CDEC Digitization Project

The Combined Document Exploitation Center (CDEC) Microfilm Collection consists of 954 reels of documents captured from North Vietnamese and Vietcong forces during the Vietnam War. Materials from this collection are being added to the Virtual Vietnam Archive daily, and plans are underway to make the entire collection available online, including original metadata collected when the materials were filmed.

Exhibits

Oral Histories and Digital Materials

In addition to its mission of collecting materials concerning Vietnam, the Vietnam War, and Southeast Asia, the Vietnam Archive currently administers two projects, the Oral History Project and the Virtual Vietnam Archive.

The Oral History Project

In 1999 the Vietnam Center and Archive initiated the Oral History Project (OHP). The history of the wars in Southeast Asia is not complete without the inclusion of the voices of those who were in some way involved. To that end, the mission of the OHP is to create and preserve a more complete record of the wars in Southeast Asia by preserving, through recorded interviews, the recollections and experiences of all who were involved in those wars. There is no political agenda in the development of the Archive or the Oral History Project. Anyone can participate, whether an American veteran, a former ally or enemy of the U.S., an anti-war protester, a government employee, a family member of a veteran, etc. The more breadth and depth the OHP has in its participants, the better and more authentic the collection and preservation of the history of the wars will be.

The Virtual Vietnam Archive

The Virtual Vietnam Archive enables scholars, students and all others interested in this remarkable period in our world history to conduct research directly from universities, schools, libraries, and homes. Of equal importance, it will enable Vietnam veterans - those who actually served - to access records that might be of importance to them in their continuing efforts to understand their own experiences. It will facilitate the research and writing of participants' memoirs, and will give high school and college students an important and authoritative source of information as they seek to understand the complexities of the Vietnam War.

When the Virtual Vietnam Archive project is complete, it will include a record for every item in the Vietnam Archive. All non-copyrighted items are available online, free of charge. The Virtual Archive currently includes finding aids for all Vietnam Archive collections, and over 4 million pages of materials online, including documents, photographs, slides, negatives, audio and moving image recordings, artifacts, and oral histories. New items are being added daily.

The Virtual Vietnam Archive employees a number of full-time employees, and numerous part-time student workers, both graduate students and undergrads. Materials are digitized using a variety of equipment, including HP flatbed scanners, Fujitsu high-speed and flatbed scanners, an EPSON large bed scanner, Nikon slide scanner, HP large format scanner/plotter, Otari reel-to-reel and cassette digitization system, an Elmo 16mm film digitizer, and an 8mm film digitizer. Digitized materials are stored on three Dell servers, with backup copies stored onsite in a cold storage vault. The Virtual Vietnam Archive utilizes a relational database system (Cuadra Star) produced by Cuadra Associates.

Institute of Museum and Library ServicesPrimary funding for the Virtual Vietnam Archive has been provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. For more information about the people and organizations who have made the Virtual Vietnam Archive possible, see our Assistance Provided By... page.

Digital copies of materials in the Virtual Archive are available. See our pricing list and guidelines for more information.

For questions concerning the Virtual Vietnam Archive, contact us at 806-742-9010 or vnca@ttu.edu.