Voyage to Vietnam Exhibit

The Auburn Public Library is pleased to host the exhibit Marking Time: Voyage to Vietnam, presenting the stories of young American soldiers and Marines going to Vietnam during the 1960s, through graffiti left on a troopship’s bunk canvases.


The exhibit was developed by Art and Lee Beltrone of Keswick, Virginia, founders of the Vietnam Graffiti Project (VGP). When the graffiti aboard the troopship General Nelson M. Walker was discovered in 1997, the VGP was created to preserve examples of the historic canvasses by removing them from the ship and placing them in museums throughout the country.


Every bunk canvas has at least one story to tell, as the artwork and slogans capture not only the writer’s thoughts and emotions, but also the era’s politics, military pride, humor, and anti-war sentiments. Efforts were made to locate the graffiti-writers, and their voyage stories are incorporated into exhibit text panels.


Artifacts were also collected from the Walker during the scrapping operation when the bunks, as they were removed by workers from the ship, yielded personal items left behind by the troops. Everything from candy bar wrappers, empty cigarette packages, and magazines, to books from the ship’s library and liquor bottles were removed and are part of the exhibit’s Things They Left Behind display.


The canvases are located on the first floor of the Library and will be on display through November 16.  The exhibit is sponsored in part by a grant from Norman, Hanson and DeTroy, and is free and open to the public.