What is keeping you away from the Virginia War Memorial?
Interviews and surveys identified a lot of preconceived notions about the VWM. Despite being dedicated to remembering all Virginian servicemen and women who lost their lives in wars since World War 2, the monument was consistently viewed as being related to Richmond’s Confederate past.
Worse, As fewer Virginians experience direct connections to the military, traditional memorials struggle to make emotional connections.
Younger Virginians don’t think this is a space for them.
Our team of six creative problem solvers, working as volunteers outside of any paid or academic work, sought to reconnect this important shrine of memory to its audience.
War may divide us, but we all mourn the loss of life. Our strategy, and our North Star, became:
The Virginia War Memorial Unites Us in Remembrance.
“It’s the place on Belvidere, right?”
“I should have gone in, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.”
“I’ve jogged by it, is that actually open to the public?”
“I assume it’s something for the confederacy?”
“The Civil War.”
“When I think of a memorial, I think of Monument Avenue.”
People don’t Google
“memorials to see this weekend.”
The Virginia War Memorial includes a dynamic education center, offering docents who fought for their country, guided tours, documentaries, a research center, and artifact exhibits. But if you wanted that kind of experience, you wouldn’t search for a memorial when planning your next visit to Richmond. At the same time, the word memorial is important for context and tax status.
We kept the basic structure of the word mark to reduce replacement costs, but added “museum” to the name of the organization, conveying the reality of the dynamic work that they perform for all of Virginia. We also incorporated the proprietary font that is used on the memorial wall and modernized the flame logo, an important symbol of memory.
Bring the memorial, and her stories, to Virginia.
The Virginia War Memorial was founded to serve as a shrine for all of Virginia. But as a static structure in the state capital, it struggles to achieve this. Even locals can face accessibility issues viewing names at the top of the wall. By removing off-mission content from the website and presenting photographed panels of the wall, we can connect the state to their fallen heroes as intended.
The Memorial’s database of research into the names and biographies of the fallen is the star of the show, offering site users the ability to connect with the faces and stories behind the names as the research is conducted.