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National Veterans Memorial and Museum

Powerful stories. Shared experiences.

The first and only national museum that is dedicated to veterans of all conflicts and branches of service. Showcasing the powerful stories of the individuals who lived them, the National Veterans Memorial and Museum is a magnificent piece of architecture built to resemble the imperturbable, reflective nature of the narratives it houses.

It started with a vision

The National Veterans Memorial and Museum began with a vision from the late Senator John Glenn (1921-2016), Colonel, USMC (Retired), who understood the pressing need to carefully preserve not only the names, dates and battles, but the intimate memories, personal belongings and painful losses of our nation’s veterans. His vision is now the guiding principle for the institution he inspired. These four foundational pillars are to:

  • Honor Americans’ contributions to our country though military service
  • Connect civilians with veterans and their experience
  • Inspire visitors to serve their community and nation as active engaged citizens
  • Educate schoolchildren about the history and value of service

An architectural icon

From first sight, the building impresses upon visitors the importance what lies within. The architect designed an iconic concrete arch structure, constructed from 28 million pounds of concrete, with a glass curtainwall system and spiral processional ascending to a rooftop sanctuary. Seeming to rise organically from the ground, the building itself is a symbol of our nation’s veterans and how their strength emanates from within.  Even before opening, the National Veterans Memorial and Museum received international recognition for its innovative design and was named one of the most anticipated buildings of 2018 by Architectural Digest. 

Outside the museum lies a 2.5 acre Memorial Grove, designed for contemplation and reflection before visitors return to their everyday lives.  A grove of trees, water feature, memorial wall, and Ring of Honor together create a cohesive space for remembrance, inspiration, and the recognition of service. A grove of American Elms, a tree which has sheltered veterans and their families since colonial times, provides a place for rest and relaxation. The limestone wall references regional geology and symbolizes our strength as a Nation as best exemplified by the teamwork of our armed forces and the motto, E pluribus unum, “From many, one.” The pool and cascades highlight water considered an elemental source of life and healing by all peoples throughout time. Native plantings provide seasonal interest and reference the passing of time and the cycles of renewal.

Calling the Peninsula home

NVMM a keystone piece to a budding new cultural district as part of a multi-million dollar redevelopment of the 56-acre Scioto Peninsula in Downtown Columbus. This effort is transforming the area into a mixed-use neighborhood primely situated at the riverfront. Spearheaded by Downtown Columbus, Inc., Phase I is complete and planning for Phase II is underway.

To learn more about the National Veterans Memorial and Museum, buy tickets, and explore their free programming, head to their website below.