Emil A. Blackmore Museum, American Legion National Headquarters
The Emil A. Blackmore Museum is located on the fourth floor of the American Legion National Headquarters in Indianapolis. Named for Emil A. Blackmore, the American Legion's national adjutant from 1956 to 1967, the museum occupies two rooms: one a display of military- and legion-related items and the other a fine-art gallery.
Backstory and Context
Blackmore was born in Rawlins, Wyoming, attended public schools there, and was educated at the University of Wyoming. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 to 1946. For two years after his discharge he was the Veterans Administration Contact Officer and the Post Service Officer of the Travis Snow Post 5 of The American Legion at Torrington, Wyoming. He also served as chairman of the Wyoming Department’s Education of Orphans of Veterans and Child Welfare committees. In 1948 he became department service officer of the Wyoming American Legion, holding that office until he joined the American Legion national headquarters in 1953. In 1967, Rawlins suddenly and unexpectedly died of a heart attack after a day of work at the Indianapolis office.
Fond remembrances of Blackmore poured in to the legion's national headquarters. "We who have had the privilege of being closely associated with him knew him as a devoted and hard-working administrator who also took the time to share the concerns of his fellow workers. 'Blackie' was a rare individual possessed of special qualities. His kindness of character--his dedication to the Legion and to the cause of the veteran--his interest in and concern for his fellow workers-and the deep compassion he held for his less fortunate comrades, are qualities that will live on in the memory of all who knew him. The American Legion has suffered a great loss and we have lost a close personal friend in the passing of Mr. Blackmore." For Blackmore's long service to the legion headquarters, the museum was named in his honor in the late 1960s.
The Emil A. Blackmore Museum contains a vast collection of weapons of war, convention badges and award medals, military uniforms and gear, military service medals and personal decorations. The museum also offers exhibits with an educational (rather than just a display) component: dioramas depicting scenes from World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, and the War on Terror; the original handwritten draft of the 1944 GI Bill of Rights; and more than 2,500 World War II and World War II posters reflecting how American society coped with being at war.
The Blackmore museum also encompasses an art gallery, with original paintings, sculptures, prints, and photographs. Pieces, by featured artists such as Howard Chandler Christy, Joe Rosenthal, Wayman Adams, Leon Reni-Mel, include portraits of presidents and prominent military leaders, images of heroism, and patriotic works.