Dear Museum family,
Thank you for all your well wishes and messages of encouragement over the past few days as The National WWII Museum and communities across southeastern Louisiana continue cleanup and recovery efforts following Hurricane Ida.
I’m pleased to share that the Museum’s exhibits and collection are safe and secure, including PT-305. Members of the Curatorial team have been on campus this week to check on artifacts, relocate delicate items susceptible to mold, and address any concerns about the collection’s exposure to humidity.
Our campus did endure some wind and rain damage, including roof damage and a few broken skylights in Louisiana Memorial Pavilion. The Bollinger Canopy of Peace, designed and tested for hurricane conditions, safely withstood Ida’s winds with only a handful of the more than 60 fabric panels sustaining some damage.
We are so thankful that our staff and volunteers are safe and that the damage to the Museum campus is minimal compared to other hard-hit communities across the region. Our dedicated remain-behind staff have been working around the clock to clean up debris, make temporary repairs, and begin making plans to ensure a safe visitor experience whenever it will be possible for us to reopen.
With the vast majority of the City of New Orleans and surrounding region still without power, The National WWII Museum will remain closed to the public through at least Thursday, September 9. All onsite and online Museum events scheduled through September 17 have been canceled or postponed, including the Memory Wars virtual conference previously scheduled for September 9-11. Once we have more time to assess our plans moving forward, we’ll provide additional updates on this event and others.
After power is restored to the Museum, it will take some time to prepare the campus for visitors and ensure that our staff have safely made it back to New Orleans before we can reopen. We also anticipate that it will take some time to build back up our visitation in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
As you may know, the Museum largely relies on visitation, Memberships, and other donations to fund its ongoing operations. Your support of the Museum is what makes it possible for us to continue advancing our mission despite the impacts that COVID-19 and now Hurricane Ida have had on our visitation. My sincere thanks to each of our Members, donors, and friends who have made it possible for us to endure these challenges.
For our supporters outside of the region who are able to consider an additional contribution to the Museum at this time, please know that gifts of any size would be immediately put to use as we begin planning for a future reopening. All contributions made to The National WWII Museum make it possible for us to continue our educational outreach, ensure the proper care of our collection, support our dedicated staff and volunteers, provide an engaging visitor experience, and preserve the personal stories of the WWII generation for perpetuity.
We’ll continue to keep you updated, especially once power is restored to the Museum and a reopening date has been set. In the meantime, our mission continues. In fact, today, we commemorate the 76th anniversary of the end of World War II. I can’t think of a more powerful reminder of the importance of our work, the determination and resilience of our nation, and the enduring qualities of the American spirit that continue to inspire us today.
Stephen J. Watson
President & CEO