Art exhibit honors the story of the Korean War

On 65th Anniversary of Inchon Landing, loaned Navy art shares story of Korean War with Greenville, S.C.

Story by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Eric Lockwood Naval History and Heritage Command, Communication and Outreach Division

The Wheels Drawing, Colored Pencil on Paper; by Herbert C. Hahn; C. 1951

The Wheels
Drawing, Colored Pencil on Paper; by Herbert C. Hahn; C. 1951

WASHINGTON – “The Navy and Marines have never shone more brightly than this morning,” General of the Army Douglas S. MacArthur said as he observed the amphibious assault from the sea at Inchon, Korea, September 15, 1950. The landing was a stunning success, but the war slogged on for another three years.

Sixty-five years later, when the Upcountry History Museum [UHM] – Furman University in Greenville, S.C., needed art to illustrate an exhibit on the Korean War, they turned to the organization that houses the largest U.S. Navy-centric art collection in the world: The Naval History and Heritage Command.

NHHC’s curators recently shipped 40 pieces of art from their “Remembering the Forgotten War: Korea, 1950-1953” exhibit to UHM, where they went on display Sept. 5 for a five month exhibit until the end of January 2016.

“The partnership [between UHM and NHHC] provides a unique opportunity for our community to access and experience combat artwork rarely seen outside of Washington, D.C.,” said Dana L. Thorpe, the executive director for UHM.

As the principle custodian of the Navy’s art heritage, the Navy Art Collection curators collect, document and preserve the art that is significant to the history of the U.S. Navy for service personnel and the public.

“The collection is unique in its ability to bring naval history alive to each new generation,” said Pam Overmann, a curator at the Art Collection.

The Korean War is especially important, considering its historical placement. Sandwiched between World War II and the Vietnam War, people can easily overlook it.

Indeed, when Thorpe asked his team what they knew of it, he said, the responses could be summed up as ‘not much.’

A North Korean Drawing, Pencil on Paper; by Hugh Cabot; 1953

A North Korean
Drawing, Pencil on Paper; by Hugh Cabot; 1953

“[This] compelled us to develop an exhibition and related programming to commemorate the ‘forgotten’ war and the veterans who fought to protect us from the encroachment of communism at the 38th parallel, the border dividing South Korea from its northern aggressor,” he said.

The artwork will join artifacts, archival material and other educational tools that UHM already holds to tell the story of the Korean War.

“Together, they will commemorate the sacrifices made, educate future generations about those sacrifices, and ensure we never forget the true cost of war and the true price of freedom,” said Thorpe. “The loan of the 40 works of art will provide new contexts for the exhibition, generating fresh perspectives and telling additional stories.”

Museums and public educational institutions wishing to exhibit Navy Art are generally evaluated in terms of their ability to meet basic museum standards and accessibility to the public. For example, institutions without admission fees that have a public trust and service responsibility are considered the most desirable for exhibit placement. Navy and Department of Defense policy excludes institutions that operate in other than nonprofit status. All exhibits must be open to the general public without regard to race, sex, color, religion, or national origin.

Corsair Drawing, Colored Pencil on Paper; by Herbert C. Hahn; C. 1951

Corsair
Drawing, Colored Pencil on Paper; by Herbert C. Hahn; C. 1951

Although exhibits can be on display for as little as one week or as long as six months, requests for extension will be considered. There is no participation fee and the only costs are shipping and insurance. The requestor should contact the Navy Art Collection to begin the loan process at (202) 433-3815 or navyart@navy.mil. Requests will be considered based on availability of the artwork within an exhibition. After all the information has been received and reviewed, the scheduling of the loan will take place.

The artwork from the “Remembering the Forgotten War: Korea, 1950-1953” collection can also be seen here: www.history.navy.mil/our-collections/art/exhibits/conflicts-and-operations/remembering-the- forgotten-war-korea-1950-1953.html

The exhibition at UHM, titled The Forgotten War: Korea, 1950-1953, is on display in their Focus Gallery. The Museum, located at 540 Buncombe Street, Greenville, South Carolina, is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy’s unique and enduring contributions throughout our nation’s history, and supports the Fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services. NHHC is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, nine museums, USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus.

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