With the use of oral histories, portraits, and personal artifacts, this interactive installation explores the impact of the Vietnam War on the lives of Brooklyn’s diverse residents from the first person perspective. As audience members walked around the exhibit, they were invited to stand in front of the portraits and listen to an audio track of the veteran depicted telling their story. This was the Brooklyn Historical Society’s most popular exhibition and was extended for 2 years.


Brooklyn Historical Society, Brooklyn, NY 2007-2011

Greater Hudson Heritage Network Award for Excellence “in recognition of an exhibition unique in its centralized use of oral history, and its design to connect the viewer with the narrator.”

Vietnam Veteran Narrators

Edward Blanco

Katherine Bourdonnay

Bernard Edelman

Daniel Friedman

Joan Furey

Edwin German

Joseph Giannini

John Hamill with Denis Hamill

Neil Joseph Kenny

Paul Knox

Robert Ptachik

Herbert Sweat

Rudy Thomas

Phat Tran

Tony Velez

Anthony Wallace

Exhibition Team

Co-curators: Philip F. Napoli, Kate Fermoile

Exhibition Designer and Producer: Alison Cornyn

Oral Historian: Phil Napoli

Additional oral history and edits: Sady Sullivan

Writer: Joan Horn

Production: Picture Projects

Photography: Alison Cornyn

Photo Production: Marion Misilim

Technical Consultant: Gilles Peress

Graphic Design: Jeff Streeper

Architecture Design: Laura Kurgan

Architecture Rendering: Erik Carver, Kate Cullen

Engineering: Heather Dewey-Hagbord

Kiosk software design: Momo Vilaitanarak

Kiosk software programming: Stephan Knuesel

Technology Consultants: Sasha Harris -Cronin,

Kevin Walker

Product ion Assistants: Evelyn Chang, Valeria

Federici, Danielle Finkelstein, Colleen Longo

Kiosk furniture design: Robert Martin Designs

Construction: Andrew Quisling

Lighting: Jeff Nash

Scholarly Advisors: Bret Eynon, Michael Foley, and Marilyn Young

In Our Own Words: Portraits of Brooklyn’s Vietnam Veterans has been made possible by the Nathan Cummings Foundation. Additional support has also been provided by Brooklyn

College, HBO, American Technology Corporation, Tekserve, House of Troy Lighting, and Timothy Simons/FHL Bank San Francisco.

Additional support has been provided by the Independence Community Foundation, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, and New York State Council on the Arts.


Vietnam Veterans of America, Bob Hopkins: A New Exhibit at the Brooklyn Historical Society, Sons of Brooklyn in Vietnam, May/June 2008.

The New York Sun, Kate Taylor: Vietnam’s Legacy Heard in Brooklyn Museums, Dec. 13, 2007.

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