The National Veterans Memorial and Museum Impresses in Debut

Sherry Beck Paprocki
Columbus Monthly

More than 2,000 people showed up in a drizzling rain Saturday for the grand opening of The National Veterans Memorial and Museum, the only nationally designated museum in the United States dedicated to honoring all veterans, on the west bank of the Scioto River near COSI. The museum grounds were busy again Sunday with visitors strolling around, appreciating the building that has been hailed by Architectural Digest as one of only 12 significant architectural sites opening around the world during 2018.

The site includes a 53,000-square-foot museum and a 2.5-acre memorial grove, which features dozens of stories from veterans. Lauded as the top design element is the museum’s rooftop greenspace, meant to be an area used for quiet reflection. It also provides rather dramatic views of the Downtown skyline and the Scioto River. Architectural Digest featured the museum’s opening in a lengthy blog post last week, written by Worthington native Nick Mafi.

The late astronaut, U.S. Marine Corps veteran and senator John Glenn was the founding chairman of the museum’s veterans advisory committee. More than $82 million was raised through private philanthropy and public partnerships to fully fund the project. L Brands founder Les Wexner and his wife Abigail were significant donors contributing nearly one half of the cost.

The Columbus Development Downtown Corporation served as project manager for the NVMM, raising the funds and leading the design, construction and opening efforts. The CDDC oversaw the design team that included Allied Works Architecture for building design, OLIN for its landscape and Ralph Appelbaum Associates for the museum exhibit design.

“I believe the National Veterans Memorial and Museum will allow for an important dialogue about the value of service to our country and the critical role veterans play in our nation,” said General Colin Powell, honorary chairman of the NVMM board of advisors, who spoke during Saturday’s grand opening. “This is an impressive tribute to all the men and women in our armed forces who have honorably served, those who gave their lives and also the families of veterans. We must never forget their sacrifice.”