The 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.

Visitors will find the bunk canvases to be very special as they reveal what went through the minds of countless young American soldiers, marines, sailors, and airmen as they spent nearly three weeks traversing the Pacific Ocean either on their way to Southeast Asia or on their way home after their tour of duty. At times comical, philosophical, vulgar, and innocent, the messages left behind on the canvases are an interesting and important addition to the cultural and social history of the Vietnam War.

The Vietnam Graffiti Project is a joint endeavor between The Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University and The Maritime Administration (MARAD). The US National Defense Reserve Fleet under MARAD contains a number of troop transports and other ships. The Vietnam Archive is primarily tasked with collecting and preserving materials from the ships. In addition, the artifacts will be digitized and made available online through this web page and the Virtual Vietnam Archive. After all materials have been properly cataloged and digitized, other museums and institutions will be invited to request materials on loan so that they can be used in displays around the country. The ships contain a vast collection of materials that reflect the cultural, social, and military history of the United States. It is essential that they be shared so that Americans everywhere can learn from them.

Canvas Bunk Bottoms are available for searching through the Graffiti Project Search Page.

Welcome aboard! To learn more about this project, please use the links in the left menu.