Creating with Community

Forty years after Operation Babylift, over 40 community members came together to help shape the exhibition. They included: adoptees who were brought to the U.S. through Operation Babylift, Vietnamese adoptees who were brought to the U.S. at other times, adoption agency workers, military and medical personnel, Vietnam veterans, civilian volunteers, adoptive parents, people who contested Operation Babylift, and Vietnamese Americans. Many voices were not present in this process. We are particularly saddened that we could not find birth families to participate. Their experiences are are at the center of this story.

Development of Operation Babylift: Perspectives and Legacies was a highly collaborative, community-based process that unfolded over the course of one year. The process was rooted in key values and practices: dialogue, honesty, and respect for diverse perspectives and personal truths. Community members were involved throughout the exhibition’s development, from shaping the original concept to contributing ideas, artifacts and personal stories on display in the final gallery. They also participated in public programming.




Operation Babylift: Perspectives and Legacies, an exhibition grounded in multiple perspectives, was only possible because of the community contributors. Their stories and voices — as well as their honesty, kindness and enthusiasm — added to public understanding and taught us as well. They have our deepest gratitude.

Aimee Phan
Anh Đào Kolbe
Maria Eitz
Bert Ballard, Ph.D.
BJ Patterson
Canh Eric Oxelsonh
Cath Turner
Col. John Kern
Daniel V. Flanagan Jr.
David Redmon Nguyen
Dick Blanchfield
Duong Thi Kim Lan
Gabrille Luu
Heather Sharp
Indigo Willing PhD, OAM
Jared Rehberg also known as Vu Tien Anh
Jason Thames Huynh
Jessica McNally
Lana Mae Noone
Lara My-Le Price
Lonny Weissman

Mark Oscherwitz MD
Mike Frailey
Mike Howe
Nancy Sterns
Nhat V. Meyer
Nol Le Meyer
Peter Cameron
Phyllis Kaplan
Robert “Frost” Redeker
Ross Bowling
Ruth Routten
S. Alex Stalcup, MD
Shirley Keller
Sister Mary Nelle Gage
Tara Linh Leaman
Thao P. Nguyen
Tom Miller
Tricia Houston
Trista Goldberg