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Competition: Native American Veterans Memorial, Washington DC

National Museum of the American Indian
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The National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) has announced an open international contest for a new £6 million monument to Native American servicemen and women in Washington DC

Open to professionals and students, the two-stage competition seeks proposals for a ‘timeless and inclusive’ national memorial on a prominent site next to the landmark Jones & Jones Architects-designed museum, which opened 13 years ago.

The project will recognise the many Native American people who served in the United States military and have yet to be acknowledged by an official monument. It will be constructed on a 1.7ha site a short distance from Frank Gehry’s contentious Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial, which started on site this month.

According to the brief: ‘Taking up the charge given by Congress, the NMAI will establish a National Native American Veterans Memorial to give all Americans the opportunity to learn of the proud and courageous tradition of service of Native Americans in the Armed Forces of the United States.

‘The tribute to Native heroes will be located prominently on the grounds of the NMAI on the National Mall, between the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and the US Capitol. When the memorial is constructed, the legacy of the enduring and distinguished service of Native American veterans in every branch of the US military will receive the national recognition it deserves.’

Native Americans have served in every branch of the US military and in every major conflict, receiving many prestigious awards including the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Congressional Medal of Honour.

There are around 31,000 active Native American servicemen and women and a further 140,000 Native American veterans in the United States. The new monument recognising their contribution will be near to the NMAI, which is currently surrounded by sculptures and landscaped gardens.

The museum is an offshoot of the Smithsonian, which opened in 2004 on a large corner site next to the US Botanical Gardens, the US Capitol and the Capitol Reflecting Pool. NMAI is a short distance from Frank Gehry’s competition-winning Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial which broke ground earlier this month after years of design changes.

The memorial may be created in any position within the NMAI grounds, bounded by Jefferson Avenue and Maryland Avenue, and will be expected to enhance visitors’ experience of the venue.

Proposals will be expected to reflect Native spirituality and the cultural commitment of Native peoples to serve their country, acknowledge the sacrifices of family members, and recognise the important context of the museum and its grounds.

Five finalists will receive around £19,000 each and be invited to develop their concepts between late January and May next year ahead of the announcement of an overall winner on 4 July. The memorial is planned to complete in 2020. 

The deadline for applications is 9 January.

How to apply

Visit the competition website for more information

Contact details

Email: nnavm-questions@si.edu

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