The Exhibit

The Marines and Tet: The Battle That Changed the Vietnam War

555 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, DC
January 26 – January 6, 2019

Fifty years after the Tet Offensive, when the North Vietnamese army launched more than 100 surprise attacks across South Vietnam, see historic combat photographs of the U.S. Marines who fought a pivotal battle and hear their personal stories of the brutal conflict and how it shaped their lives.

This innovative exhibition includes 20 large-format photographs and 10 tactile versions of the original photographs with touch-activated sensors that provide audio interviews with the Marines shown in the photos. The three-dimensional tactile prints allow blind and sighted people to experience the photography in a unique way. Ten Marines were interviewed for the exhibit, some of them revealing their stories publicly for the first time.  

John Olson, then a young photographer with Stars and Stripes, spent three days with the Marines at the Battle of Huêˊ(pronounced Hway), the bloodiest single battle of the Tet Offensive and a turning point that changed the course of the Vietnam War. The battle of Huêˊ began Jan. 31, 1968, with intense fighting that left thousands dead and the historic city virtually destroyed before the North Vietnamese were driven out a month later. 

The exhibit was organized by photographer John Olson, who won the prestigious Robert Capa Award for his photographs from Vietnam and who at age 21 became the youngest staff photographer ever hired at Life magazine.

The Newseum is the first museum in the United States to host a major tactile exhibit for blind and low-vision visitors.