On March 22, 2012, the Museum marked the next phase of the $300 million expansion at a special ceremony where the uppermost piece of steel framework was installed on the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center. On that same day, the Museum also celebrated the groundbreaking for construction of the next major pavilion, Campaigns of Courage: European & Pacific Theaters.
Scheduled to open this winter, the $35 million US Freedom Pavilion will be home to a broad variety of artifacts that comprised the “big guns” of American military might. These include a restored B-17G Flying Fortress, B-25J Mitchell, SBD-3 Dauntless, TBM Avenger, P-51D Mustang, Corsair F4U-4 and an interactive submarine experience based on the final mission of the USS Tang. Exhibits will also tell the human story, highlighting the contributions of all the branches of service in WWII.
The completion date for Campaigns of Courage is slated for 2013. The 31,435 square-foot pavilion will house two galleries which explore the Allied campaigns in Asia and the Pacific and the European Theater. Exhibits will examine the evolving strategy for fighting on two continents while delving into the cultural differences and extreme weather conditions that servicemembers faced. Visitors will receive an imprinted “dog tag” allowing them to follow the journey of an actual participant in the war. Guests will be able to track the actions of their “character” through a number of interactive kiosks throughout the exhibits for a more personal and engaging view of the war.
Funds for the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center came from a $20 million Congressional grant through the United States Department of Defense and $15 million gift from The Boeing Company. This gift from Boeing, which built the B-17, represents the largest private contribution the Museum has received to date. Funding for pavilion exhibits and artifact restoration has been provided by several private donors.
Funding for Campaigns of Courage: European & Pacific Theaters is provided by the State of Louisiana Division of Administration, Office of Community Development and the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. Funding for pavilion exhibits and artifact restoration has been provided by several private donors.