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Michael D. Cousino Sr. Vietnam War Dioramas Collection

Michael D. Cousino Sr. Vietnam War Dioramas Collection

Collection Number: 
Collection Length: 
Geographic Coverage: 
1968 to 1975
Finding Aid: 
Cousino Vietnam War Dioramas Collection

Michael D. Cousino was born in Gouverneur, New York in 1947.  He served in the U.S. Marine Corps’ I Corps in Northern Vietnam from 1968 to ’69, when he was wounded in battle.  After his discharge from the service and stints in physical rehabilitation, Cousino lived in the southern U.S. for several years before returning to Northern New York in 1983.  As a boy, Cousino dabbled in model-making and other crafts and in the mid 1980’s he began making realistic three dimensional depictions of various experiences he and fellow Marines had in Vietnam using “found” materials and painstakingly making items from scratch.  The work proved therapeutic, as Cousino struggled over the years to cope with his personal Vietnam experience.  Gradually, Cousino began sharing his dioramas both with fellow Vietnam vets and later with the public.  His artworks, now numbering over 200, were the subject of several museum exhibits, arts festivals, library displays and other public outlets, including the book Vietnam Remembered: The Folk Art of Marine Combat Veteran Michael D. Cousino Sr. by local folklorist Varick Chittenden (NK 8473.5.C68 C55 1995).

The collection consists of six dioramas using various materials, depicting scenes of torture, small scale battles, platoon patrols, soldiers at rest and the downing of a U.S. helicopter.  Each diorama is enclosed in a custom-built wood and plastic box.  Five of the six works are untitled.  They represent some of the earlier works made by Mr. Cousino.

The collection was given as a gift of the artist in 1987.