VA establishes the department’s first history office

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) established the VA History Office (VAHO), April 10, to formally collect and preserve the department’s history.

The VAHO will consist of the VA History Program (VAHP) and National VA History Center (NVAHC) and serve as the principal VA-wide management office for centralized VA historical initiatives.

The mission of VAHO is to develop an overarching program to collect, preserve and provide access to VA’s relevant historical records and artifacts to tell a comprehensive story of VA and its predecessor organizations.

“VA is one of the few cabinet-level agencies without an official history office,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “The new office will allow the department to document the special relationship between the nation and our Veterans.”

The vision is to promote understanding and study of the unique relationship between the United States and its Veterans through the lens of the VA experience — the care of wounds, the benefits bestowed, the contributions of Veterans to society after serving, and the honors provided at their passing.

When fully functional, VAHP will research and respond to inquiries regarding VA history and support VA leaders in their decision-making process by providing ready access to department experiences from the past. The program will also manage historical publication projects and establish an oral history program to capture the experiences of senior officials and long-tenured employees to be included in department archives.

NVAHC will be located in Dayton, Ohio on the campus of the historic VA Medical Center that originally served as a National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers following the Civil War. Two historic buildings on the campus were previously identified for use as a centralized museum and archive for VA. The department is partnering with the VA History Center Foundation to fund renovations for the historic buildings.

The National VA History Center is tentatively forecasted for a 2025 opening based on public funding availability and private fundraising. For more information contact [email protected].

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