Even before The National WWII Museum opened its doors in 2000, its founder, Dr. Stephen Ambrose, had already begun to amass artifacts collected from veterans as he interviewed them. Now, the Museum’s vault houses more than 100,000 artifacts. While many items in the collection — including but not limited to Allied and Axis uniforms, weaponry, vehicles, medals, diaries, letters, artwork, photographs and other mementos — are on exhibit, the majority are kept safely in storage to be used for research and future exhibitions, or are being restored to their original condition.
The Museum has a large collection of memoirs of wartime experiences, as well as an impressive collection of oral histories conducted with veterans from all branches and who served on all fronts.
About Focus Ons:
Focus On is a platform for the Museum to highlight an event from World War II and examine that event through the use of the Museum’s collections. By presenting still images, artifacts, maps, documents and motion pictures, the Museum highlights the human side of the conflict. World War II was the most destructive war in history; when examined as a whole the scale becomes overwhelming. The Museum hopes that by focusing on the stories of the common person in the war, people today may form a better understanding of the forces that participated in the war that changed the world.
About Featured Artifacts:
The National WWII Museum is home to thousands of three-dimensional artifacts representative of the war years both at home and overseas. From the ubiquitous “Steel Pot” helmet to the impressive Sherman tank, the Museum’s artifacts are an integral part of interpreting the history of the Second World War. View and learn more about featured artifacts, or how to donate artifacts.
About Oral Histories:
The Museum has collected a number of recordings of the personal stories of veterans of World War II. These oral histories contain vivid retellings and synthesis of the experience of the war through first-hand accounts and memories of the men who were there. Watch featured oral histories.
Learn more about recording oral histories and submitting these accounts to the Museum.
For access to artifacts, archives and oral histories for research purposes, read our archival research policy.