Star-studded tribute to the Greatest Generation opens
in November. What comes next is even more ambitious.
NEW ORLEANS (May 7, 2009) – Plans to quadruple the size of The National World War II Museum are right on schedule with the newest phase in the expansion opening soon, according to Museum officials. Debuting November 6 are three new attractions: The Victory Theater and its 4-D cinematic experience Beyond All Boundaries; The Stage Door Canteen, recreating the entertainment found in the famous wartime venues; and The American Sector, a Chef John Besh restaurant with a casual 1940s flavor. Together they are the most significant addition to New Orleans’ cultural landscape since Hurricane Katrina damaged the historic city.
But the newest arrivals are only the beginning of a series of major buildings in a planned $300 million expansion that’s being executed as carefully as the Normandy invasion. The next decade’s battle plan calls for the Museum to grow into a six-acre campus with 300,000 square feet of exhibition space. The Victory Theater complex and the additional pavilions on the drawing board will all complement the current Museum, which is comprised of a striking contemporary structure abutting a restored 19th-century brewery. The Museum’s permanent exhibit galleries focus on four key areas: The Home Front, Planning for D-Day, The D-Day Beaches and The D-Day Invasions in the Pacific.
The coming additions include four major new buildings which will open in phases: The Campaigns Pavilion is dedicated to the greatest and some of the lesser-known battles, including Guadalcanal, the battle of the Bulge, and the Mediterranean. The Liberation Pavilion documents the Holocaust, POW camps, events surrounding the war’s closing months in 1945, and the return of freedom following liberation. The expansive United States Freedom Pavilion will cover all the service branches and will display additional land, sea and air major artifacts.
Additional exhibits in the Museum’s original complex will allow visitors to follow the stories of real WWII servicemen and women as they headed off to war, and experience wartime farewells in a 1942 train station. Also in the plans is a Special Exhibitions Gallery and a spacious parade ground. The entire campus is expected to be open to the public by 2015
For an attraction that opened just nine years ago and quickly established itself as the city’s most important visitor attraction, the Museum’s “We Can Do It!” attitude is not surprising.
“This country showed the world what its citizens and servicemen and women were capable of during World War II. Continuing on with this project will demonstrate that we’re as committed to preserving the legacy of the Greatest Generation. It will serve as one of the great educational museums of the world,” said National World War II Museum President and CEO Dr. Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller. “When it’s all complete, this Museum will be as epic as the war it honors.”
There is an urgency in the Museum’s efforts. World War II veterans continue to die at the rate of 900 a day, according to the latest figures from the Veterans Administration in Washington, DC.
“The National World War II Museum has a huge responsibility to pass the stories of the Greatest Generation on to the next generation,” said former California Governor Pete Wilson, Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. “Fewer and fewer people will have the privilege of hearing about the war directly from the men and women that lived it. Through the Museum’s program of recording their oral histories and cutting edge exhibits, we will preserve and present as much of their experience as possible to younger audiences.”
To appeal to everyone from WWII veterans to this century’s Millennial Generation, yet still maintain complete historical authenticity in its portrayal of the War, the Museum amassed a unique team of technicians, historians and artists. Together they created a jaw-dropping, immersive experience that unfolds inside the Victory Theater. Beyond All Boundaries is the true story of America’s fight in the Second World War told with 4D technology, a process that engages all the audience’s senses with digital effects, life-sized props, animation, and atmospherics like steam in Guadalcanal’s jungles and snow in the Ardennes. The exclusive production, featuring the voices of some of Hollywood’s top stars, is projected on a 120-feet wide screen.
The Museum will be opening three new attractions on November 6 as part of their overall expansion plans: The Victory Theater, The American Sector, and The Stage Door Canteen. The opening weekend red carpet extravaganza will be attended by Hollywood celebrities led by Tom Hanks and Tom Brokaw, many World War II military veterans and their families, active military and others.
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. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National 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 877-813-3329 or 504-527-6012 or visit www.nationalww2museum.org. Follow us on Twitter atWWIImuseum or visit our Facebook fan page.