What is the Ohio Veterans Memorial and Museum?

The Ohio Veterans Memorial and Museum (OVMM) is a new memorial and museum being built to honor Ohio veterans’ contributions to our free and safe society. OVMM will serve as a tribute to our veterans as well as a reminder to all of the importance and value of military service. More than simply a war memorial or a military museum, OVMM will share the stories and experiences of the Ohio men and women who have served their country, even of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in order to do so.

The OVMM mission is to:

  • Honor Ohioans’ contributions through military service,
  • Connect civilians with veterans and their military experience,
  • Inspire visitors to serve their community and nation as citizens, and
  • Educate schoolchildren about the history and value of service via an interactive permanent exhibition that links directly to portions of Ohio's educational standards.

Additionally, the space will host events for active duty and retired military members, including homecoming ceremonies, ROTC trainings and graduations, celebrations, and parades.

The new Museum, which is perched on seven acres along the Scioto River in Downtown Columbus, will be a visual icon for the region, a valued educational asset for Ohio schoolchildren, and a catalyst for economic development on the Scioto Peninsula. 

What will the OVMM building and grounds look like?

The new Museum and surrounding Memorial Grove will occupy the entire 7-acre site along the Scioto River that was the former home of Franklin County Veterans Memorial. OVMM will bring the concepts of honor and duty to life through interactive and educational exhibits; beautiful landscaping; and iconic architecture, which includes a spiral processional rising to a rooftop amphitheater. OVMM will also include space for permanent and temporary exhibits, an indoor event space, meeting rooms for veterans groups, and a processional and parade grounds entry court. Please visit the Photo Gallery on the OVMM website to see our renderings collection.

What will the OVMM permanent exhibition include?

The exhibit design firm of Ralph Appelbaum Associates is working to create an exhibition that presents a narrative journey evoking the core themes and stories of the veteran experience. The interpretive framework for the exhibits is based on central messages that were developed with the Veterans Advisory Committee; it honors historical and contemporary examples of Ohio veterans’ stories. Rather than focusing exclusively on war, combat, or the military, OVMM’s exhibition narrative explores the transformative experience of military service while connecting it to the broader idea of public and community service. Further, it hopes to stimulate an ongoing dialogue in an effort to increase connections between civilians and veterans.

To accomplish these goals, the exhibition features a set of Thematic Alcoves evoking the emotions and challenges of those who have served the nation and a dimensional Timeline telling a chronological story of the major events and people who have shaped Ohio’s military history. Additional emphasis is being placed on developing links between exhibition content and Ohio’s New Learning Standards so that OVMM may be used by educators as a tool to bring content to life both on-site and remotely via distance learning modules.

Where will OVMM be built?

OVMM is being built on the site of the former Franklin County Veterans Memorial convention space. Located on West Broad Street in Downtown Columbus, the 7-acre footprint of OVMM’s building and grounds is the same as that of the former facility. The Museum’s riverfront location on the west bank of the Scioto River adjacent to the soon-to-be-completed Scioto Greenways and across Broad Street from COSI make it ideally situated to visitors looking to spend an entire day experiencing some of Columbus’ cultural attractions. Parking will be available on the lot west of Belle Street.

Are Ohio veterans being represented in the OVMM planning process?

Yes, Ohio veterans are being represented in the planning process through an Advisory Committee. The Committee consists of more than 20 veterans representing each conflict since WWII and branch of service. The Committee is broken up into three subcommittees – Communications, Interior Exhibits, and Exterior Exhibits. The role of the Advisory Committee is to advise the Project Team and make recommendations with regard to the educational and memorial components of the OVMM while serving as liaison to the larger Ohio veteran community. In addition, many other veterans have directly participated in the planning process via focus groups, public forums, and informal conversations.

Are teachers being represented in the planning process for the educational component of the Museum’s content?

Yes, teachers are being represented in the planning process. To ensure that key curriculum elements of Ohio’s New Learning Standards are integrated into the institution’s educational content, CDDC has convened a committee of state educators and education administrators. This panel of experts is consulting on ways in which the core themes and stories of the veteran experience being highlighted in OVMM’s exhibits can be leveraged to reinforce and extend traditional classroom instruction. 

Will there be free meeting space at OVMM for veterans?

Yes, it was an important goal of OVMM to continue to provide Franklin County veterans’ groups with meeting space in the new facility free of charge.

Will there be spaces for veteran and armed services events?

Yes, three primary spaces will be available for veteran and armed services events. There will be flexible interior lobby space for larger events, a multi-purpose room on the lower-level, and an outdoor rooftop sanctuary. The Project Team is working to ensure that the space may be used to host a variety of events, both for veterans and the general public, so that OVMM can fulfill its mission.

When will OVMM be completed?

Construction will begin in the summer of 2015, with a targeted opening date in 2017.

Who is on the OVMM Project Team?

The Columbus Downtown Development Corporation (CDDC) is the Project Manager. CDDC has previously developed the Scioto Mile and Columbus Commons, rehabilitated the Lazarus Building, and is currently managing the construction of the Scioto Greenways.

The selected architecture firm, Allied Works Architecture, is based out of Portland, Oregon and New York City. Recently, Allied Works designed the Contemporary Art Museum in St. Louis, the University of Michigan Museum of Art, and the Clyfford Styll Museum in Denver.

The landscape architecture firm, OLIN, is based out of Philadelphia and Los Angeles. It has designed many well-known public and private spaces throughout the world including U.S. Embassies in London and Berlin; the gardens at the Getty Center in Los Angeles; Battery Park City and Bryant Park in New York City; and the grounds of the Washington Monument in Washington, D.C.

The exhibit design firm, Ralph Appelbaum Associates, is based out of New York, London, Beijing, Berlin, and Moscow. It is perhaps best known for its work at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, but it has also won acclaim on such projects as the Newseum and the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center in Washington, D.C.; the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia; the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock; and the National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh.

How can I get involved?

If you would like to donate to the Ohio Veterans Memorial and Museum, please email CDDC using this form and include your contact information. Additionally, if you would like to provide input on the exhibit design, please complete this form on the OVMM webpage. Your feedback regarding exhibit (both interior and exterior) will be forwarded to the appropriate OVMM Advisory Committee members for integration into their recommendations to the design team.