NEW ORLEANS – Founded as the National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s official World War II Museum, The National World War II Museum in New Orleans illuminates the American experience during the war years with moving personal stories, historic artifacts and powerful interactive displays. From the Normandy invasion to the sands of Pacific Islands and the Home Front, the Museum brings to life the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who won the war that changed the world, providing an incomparable experience for the entire family.
The 16,000-square-foot galleries of The National World War II Museum feature state-of-the-art, interactive exhibits highlighted by oral histories from veterans worldwide, artifacts, documents, photographs and never before seen film footage. These exhibits take Museum visitors through the weeks and days leading up to the D-Days of World War II to the foggy morning of June 6 when the Allies landed on the beaches of Normandy to the other decisive air and sea assaults that led to victory in Europe and the Pacific.
The Louisiana Memorial Pavilion showcases essential tools of the war effort, including the famous Higgins landing craft. More than 20,000 boats were designed and built in New Orleans and used in all the amphibious landings of World War II. Dwight Eisenhower credited these boats with winning the war for the Allies. Other artifacts include Sherman tanks, jeeps, halftracks and a restored C-47. This plane dropped paratroopers into Normandy on D-Day and saw action in the Battle of the Bulge and the “Rhine Jump” airborne assault in 1945. An interactive exhibit on the C-47 features the story of this plane and others like it.
A changing exhibition gallery houses special displays related to the Museum’s mission. The current changing exhibition, Real to Real: Hollywood in World War II, will run through August 31, 2008. On September 27, 2008, The National World War II Museum will welcome the exhibit Lives Remembered: Photographs of a Small Town in Poland 1897-1939, a traveling exhibition by the Holocaust Museum Houston. This touching exhibition illustrates Jewish life in Europe before the Holocaust through reproductions of more than 100 photographs of the small town of Szczuczyn, Poland.
The Malcolm S. Forbes Theater features two alternating films focusing on the D-Day invasions at Normandy and in the Pacific, The Price for Peace and D-Day Remembered.
With an eye towards the future, The National World War II Museum is currently moving ahead with a $300 million expansion that will quadruple its size and help lead the renaissance of New Orleans’ tourism.
Construction is currently underway for the Victory Theater, an advanced format theater scheduled to be opened in spring 2009. The theater will have regular showings of Beyond All Boundaries, a cinematic experience designed exclusively for the Museum by Director Paul Hettema and Executive Producer Tom Hanks. Through an array of multi-sensory special effects, viewers will be taken on an immersive virtual journey that spans the entirety of World War II. Also opening in 2009, the Stage Door Canteen, an entertainment venue and restaurant, will be linked to the Victory Theater and open to the general public.
“This country showed the world what its soldiers and citizens were capable of during World War II. Continuing on with this project will demonstrate that we are as committed to the city’s future as we are to preserving the legacy of the Greatest Generation,” said Dr. Gordon “Nick” Mueller, President and CEO of The National World War II Museum. “We are expanding the Museum to be as epic as the war it honors. The National World War II Museum will be one of the great educational and historic institutions of the world.”
Currently in the planning stage is a Campaigns Pavilion exploring all campaigns of the war, including North Africa, Italy, China-Burma-India and an expanded treatment of the Pacific Theater. Also in the works is the United States Freedom Pavilion, which will enable visitors to follow the stories of actual World War II soldiers and experience a simulation of going off to war by train. Additional planned expansion components include a Land, Sea and Air Pavilion for such large artifacts as planes and tanks, II, a Liberation Pavilion and a pavilion to house special exhibitions, all surrounding an expansive parade ground.
The National World War II Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today – so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as the nation’s official World War II Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and the Home Front. For more information, call 504-527-6012 or visit www.nationalww2museum.org.