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Case Study - NVAM

NVAM logo

Realities of war come to life through Veteran Art

Located in Chicago, The National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM), formerly The National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum, is the world's only museum dedicated to artwork created specifically by Vietnam and war veterans.


In 1981, a few Vietnam combat veterans created an artistic and historical collection of art that would become a timeless, humanistic statement of war on behalf of all veterans for future generations. Ultimately, the Museum expanded to all works of art created by military veterans of all wars.


The Museum looked to Cascade to help build awareness through local, regional and national media.

veterans, art therapy, art museum, public relations, Chicago
veterans, art therapy, art museum, public relations, Chicago
veterans, art therapy, art museum, public relations, Chicago
NVAM dogtag exhibit
  • The Museum had gone virtually unknown in Chicago.

  • The organization sought to revitalize itself, grow its exhibits and attract local and national media attention.

  • Many had misconceptions of the Museum being a war museum.

  • The nature of the artwork meant that visitors would most likely not return to week after week.

  • The brand of the Museum was dark. If the Museum was going to attract visitors, it would need a brighter website and identity.


The Museum's artwork and exhibits offered stories worth telling, within themselves. NVAM had not had any media placements in nearly five years, with the exception of one Chicago Tribune story about its "Above and Beyond" memorial exhibit, the second largest Vietnam Veterans Memorial made up of dog tags with each veteran's name on it. NVAM is Chicago's only national museum.

  • Create a comprehensive public relations program to communicate NVAM's key messages to local media, and visitors to Chicago.

  • Hone in on local media and gather the support of Chicagoland politicians, veterans and residents

  • Generate awareness for all exhibit openings through public relations

  • Teach staff how to best use social media to engage with veterans, promote exhibits and engage 


The Museum had plenty of stories to tell. By creating a calendar for the year, Cascade was able to make the most of all the media opportunities offered. Our goal was to keep things simple and focused while increasing outreach to a broader audience.

  • Launch an ongoing traditional public relations campaign with press kit and press releases on all exhibit openings 

  • Introducing the Museum to local media and communicating key messages through personal contact with journalists

  • Create big media push for Memorial and Veterans Day. Local Chicago television made the NVAM a destination for honoring veterans and also promoting the exhibit openings.

  • Manage all media inquiries.


Local media quickly took interest in the National Veterans Art Museum, which led to national media exposure in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, C-Span, Associated Press and National Public Radio, as well as other market newspapers. The initial outreach, made the Museum top of mind of local and regional media for stories regarding veterans for years to come, and led to a regular presence in the media throughout the year.

60+ media stories - local and national in two years

Chicago Sun-Times NVAM
NBC5 Chicago logo
ABC 7 Chicago logo
CBS2 Chicago logo
Wall Street Journal logo
Chicago Public Radio logo
AP logo
WGN9 Chicago logo
NPR logo
Daily Herald Chicago logo
The Washington Post logo
Chicago Reader logo
Chicago Tribune logo
WGN Radio logo
FOX32 Chicago news
The Dallas Morning News
WBBM Newsradio Chicago
C-SPAN logo

Jennifer has provided tremendous, above and beyond the call of duty assistance to the National Veterans Art Museum. Whether it was working on a specific project or providing general counsel on branding and promotion strategies and tactics, she has been a trusted and valued partner (not just a consultant). 

Levi Moore, Former Executive Director

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