The Veterans Memorial Center, Inc. was formed in March 1989 to create, maintain and operate an institution to honor and perpetuate the memories of all men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces and Wartime Merchant Marine.
The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park was chartered to serve five categories of function:
- Serve as a museum presenting permanent, rotating and visiting exhibits of patriotic, military and war-related memorabilia, artifacts, photographs, and other artwork.
- Serve as a host to programs that perpetuate the memories of deceased veterans or members of the United States Armed Forces and to comfort their survivors.
- Serve as a home for programs for charitable, scientific, literary or educational purposes that promote public awareness concerning the sacrifices and contributions of men and women who serve and have served in the Armed forces.
- Serve as a venue for services and social and recreational activities for veterans, active duty personnel, and the general public, which are compatible with other purposes of the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park.
- Serve as a the regular meeting place for many of the San Diego region's veterans and active duty military organizations.
The site chosen for the location of the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park was the former San Diego Naval Hospital Chapel, part of a complex of architecturally significant buildings with rich historical connections to the San Diego region's naval heritage.
The Veterans Museum honors those who served in the nation's military, and showcases the history of the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Merchant Marine.