Original campus explores European and Pacific frontswhile $300 million expansion to add depth and new dimension
NEW ORLEANS (May 7, 2009) – The current 16,000-square-foot gallery space of The National World War II Museum comprises state-of-the-art, interactive exhibits that feature oral histories from veterans, artifacts, documents and photographs and rare film footage. These series of exhibits take Museum visitors through the weeks and days leading up to the foggy morning of June 6 when the Allies landed on the beaches of Normandy; and 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 Higgins boat, the famed D-Day landing craft showcased in the film Saving Private Ryan. 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. The Museum was established in New Orleans because the Higgins boat was created here. Iconic artifacts include Sherman tanks, jeeps, halftracks, Nazi heavy water barrel that was part of Adolf Hitler’s atomic weapons program and a restored C-47 that dropped paratroopers over the fields of Normandy and saw action in the Battle of the Bulge. An award-winning interactive exhibit on the C-47 features the story of this plane and others like it.
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 the Emmy-award winning D-Day Remembered.
And in November 2009, the next phase of an overall $300 million capital expansion will begin to quadruple the size of the original Museum site. On November 6, the Museum will officially open three new attractions: The Victory Theater, The Stage Door Canteen and The American Sector.
The Victory Theater will feature Beyond All Boundaries, a 4-D multi-sensory cinematic experience. The exclusive production features the voices of some of Hollywood’s top stars. The 4-D theater will give audiences a unique experiential look into World War II, incorporating Hollywood special effects, the most cutting edge digital technology, and original historical war footage – all presented in the first person.
The Stage Door Canteen is a salute to the WWII era venues that entertained anxious young men and women on their way to war and the A-list entertainers who boosted their morale. The dining and entertainment venue will feature a video montage of these legendary performances and a signature live show will bring the music of the war years to life.
The Canteen will segue into The American Sector, a Chef John Besh restaurant. Besh, a former Marine during Operation Desert Storm and a James Beard Award-winning culinary master, made the finals of The Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef and has appeared numerous times on NBC’s Today show.
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 at WWIImuseum or visit our Facebook fan page.