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VA History Office

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Substitution in the Civil War

EXHIBIT - FOUR SOLDIERS JOURNEY FROM BORDER STATES TO FRONT LINES: In this VA History exclusive historical EXHIBIT, learn the journey of four Black Americans who joined the Union Army through a provision in the draft known as subsititution. Follow their path from Civil War Soldiers to burial in National Cemeteries. READ ON»

NCS joins VA in 1973

CEMETERY'S ASSIGNED TO VA: On September 1, 1973, the Veterans Administration (VA) became the steward of 103 national cemeteries, 22 lots in private cemeteries, 7 Confederate cemeteries, and 3 monument sites. It also took responsibility for the procurement of government headstones and markers for eligible veterans. VA was now in the cemetery service. READ ON»

COVID19 artifact collection

COLLECTING COVID ARTIFACTS TO PRESERVE: As the global pandemic set in, historians, archivists, and museum professionals recognized the need to collect artifacts telling the story of VA's efforts to care for Veterans against COVID19. Part of that collection fell to the newly established VA History Office which led to its first agency-wide historical preservation effort. READ ON»

National VA History Center artifact number one

FIRST ARTIFACT ARCHIVED WITHIN VA: The National VA History Center is progressing at the Dayton VA Medical Center campus - but artifact collection to fill its rooms has successfully been underway. Less than a year after celebrating the Center's establishment, VAs History and Archive team transferred the first artifact into its collection - a 19th Century Bible from the campus chapel. READ ON»

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Department of Veterans Affairs History 

Welcome to VA's history website!

Thank you for your interest in VA's history. Here you will find a growing collection of features, content, and multimedia that dive into the VA story and learn the HISTORY of VA's services to those who served.

To navigate, click on the links below to find the various pages of our site. The VA History page is the general history of VA as a whole, as well as the heritage of each distinct VA Administration. Our Features page is where fresh, new content will be posted approximately every one to two weeks. Also here is progress made on the National VA History Center - a museum and archival center where researchers and the public will be able to see firsthand how VA impacts our nation. Our footprint is growing, so check back often to see what VA History has for you!

VA's story and history.


How did VA start? Department of Veteran Affairs has not always been its name. The origin story of the modern VA includes many previous entities and names dating back as far as the American colonies. You'll find all that on this site! National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers, Veterans Bureau, Bureau of Pensions, War Risk Bureau, and Veterans Administration. So. Many. Names. Our team of historians have untangled this lineage and provided it in a chronological format for you to learn. VA's history is also complemented by the backstory of the three VA Administrations, which is coming soon! VA HISTORY»

VA History Features


This is the good stuff! What's covered? EVERYTHING. The people, events, accomplishments, and moments captured that illustrate VA's remarkable evolution serving Veterans. Feature content will be added approximately every 1 - 2 weeks. If you want these stories sent to your email - sign up for the VA History subscription service. Check out today all the FEATURE STORIES»

National VA History Center


The National VA History Center (NVAHC) is the forthcoming museum and archival center for all things historical in the VA mission and located at the Dayton VA Medical Center campus - itself a designated National Historic Landmark. While the idea of NVAHC is not new, recent actions to make it a reality are. Ceremonies marking its official establishment - and the start of renovation work on two historic buildings to house the collection - were held in August 2020. The public opening of the NVAHC isn't expected for several years, but fascinating work is ongoing behind the scenes. Look for monthly updates in the Curator Corner, which will illustrate the multi-faceted steps that go into establishing a museum and collection from scratch! This will be the GO-TO home for the History Center and the VA history collection. FUTURE SITE OF THE NATIONAL VA HISTORY CENTER AND ARCHIVE»

President Abraham Lincoln giving his second inaugural address 1865.

President Abraham Lincoln gives his second Inaugural Address, March 4, 1865. (Photo courtesy of Library of Congress.)

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