Student Leadership Academy

A summer learning experience at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans
Summer 2020

Tour Overview

During Student Leadership Academy, students spend one week with the Museum's staff of historians, curators, and educators in the most immersive WWII experience available at the Museum. A ride aboard PT-305, the Museum's WWII combat-veteran PT boat, concludes this exceptional week.

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Student Leadership Academy

This six-night, seven-day program immerses students in the Museum's wealth of exhibits, artifacts, images, and documents, with structured Leadership Lesson Debates along the way. Students will feel what it was like to be a member of a five-man crew inside a Sherman Tank, inspect the flight logs of a bomber pilot, and handle the gear of a WWII infantryman. Students continually revisit the theme of “what it means today,” relating the lessons of World War II to their own lives and the world around them.

Not only will students have the unique opportunity to study WWII history at one of the world's top-rated museums, they will also venture out to historic sites in the community—including the Chalmette National Battlefield and NASA Michoud Assembly Facility (on the former site of the plant that produced the Higgins Boats used in the war)—and meet some of the men and women who experienced World War II firsthand.

In coordination with Student Leadership Academy, students have the option to earn college credit through the online course Topics in WWII History, a course that examines common themes and decisions made during World War II. Through readings, artifact investigations at The National WWII Museum, and online discussion forums, students analyze the major elements of World War II with an emphasis on strategic and moral dilemmas.

Students can enroll in an online course through Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana, that will be instructed by a history professor and moderated by Museum staff. Assignments will include discussions and papers on assigned readings and a travel portfolio. Assignments will be graded, and students who pass the course will earn three credit hours.


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Tour Inclusions 

  • Male and female chaperones
  • Pre-tour communication with Museum Education staff member
  • Pre-tour readings and books
  • Roundtrip airport transfers (when arriving and departingon scheduled group tour dates)
  • Three-star centrally located hotel accommodations in New Orleans
  • Behind-the-scenes access at The National WWII Museum
  • Exclusive dinner with a WWII historian or author
  • Touring with a university professor
  • Entrance fees to all sites, museums, and historic attractions in itinerary 
  • Video oral history presentations from the Museum collection
  • Private first-class air conditioned motor coach transportation
  • Gratuities to guides, drivers, porters, and servers
  • Six breakfasts, five lunches, and six dinners (all meals while touring)
  • Backpacks, luggage tags, and customized name badge
Student Leadership Academy

Tour Itinerary

Full Tour Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival in New Orleans

Students are greeted by Museum staff upon arrival in New Orleans and escorted to the group hotel. After time to check in and relax, students view a private showing of the Museum’s exclusive 4D experience Beyond all Boundaries before a welcome dinner at the Museum.

Accommodations: La Quinta Inn & Suites Downtown (D)

Day 2

The Home Front

Upon arriving at the Museum, view The Arsenal of Democracy: The Herman and George Brown Salute to the Home Front and hear from some of the curators who selected the artifacts for the exhibit. Continuing with the Home Front theme, explore a selection of high school yearbooks from the war years to uncover the many ways that students assisted the war effort. In addition, hear stories from WWII veterans about where they were when they heard about Pearl Harbor and how their world changed soon after.

Accommodations: La Quinta Inn & Suites Downtown (B, L, D)

Day 3

Behind The Lines

Students begin the day with the Museum’s Behind the Lines tour to get a close-up view of the weapons and gear used during the Battle of Normandy. Highlights include an American M1 Garand, a German MG 42, and a Sherman Tank into which students may climb. In the afternoon, visit the Museum’s immersive Campaigns of Courage pavilion, where Road to Berlin: European Theater Galleries brings to life the drama, sacrifices, personal stories, and strategies of America’s campaign to defeat the Axis powers and preserve freedom. Journey from the deserts of North Africa to the bloody struggle at Germany’s doorstep in preparation for the journey to Normandy

Accommodations: La Quinta Inn & Suites Downtown (B, L, D)

Day 4

World War II in Europe

Students begin the day in the Museum’s D-Day: The Invasion of Normandy exhibit, where they participate in group decision-making scenarios about the battles of that fateful day. Next is a tour of The Duchossois Family Road to Berlin: European Theater Galleries. The day finishes with an exclusive look at some of the artifacts that inspired the Museum’s traveling exhibition Fighting for the Right to Fight: The African American Experience in World War II.

Day 5

The Legacy of Andrew Higgins

Today, students head to the swamps of south Louisiana to see the terrain that helped inspire the invention of the Higgins Boat, which Dwight D. Eisenhower credited with winning World War II for the Allies. The group also visits Bollinger Shipyards, where students witness a large-scale production facility carrying on the legacy of Andrew Higgins.

Day 6

The War in the Pacific

Upon arrival to the Museum, students board Final Mission: USS Tang Submarine Experience and relive the final patrol of the Tang. Next, the group immerses itself in the Pacific theater in Richard C. Adkerson & Freeport McMoRan Foundation Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries. After lunch, students embark on a tour of the French Quarter, New Orleans's oldest and most vibrant neighborhood.

Day 7

PT-305 and Departures

Students begin the day on Lake Pontchartrain aboard PT-305, the world’s only fully restored, combat-veteran PT boat. After a historic ride, the group transfers to the airport for afternoon flights home.

Student Leadership Academy

What You'll Learn

Experience History

Not only will students have the unique opportunity to study WWII history at one of the world's top-rated museums, they will also venture out to historic sites in the community—including the Chalmette National Battlefield and NASA Michoud Assembly Facility (on the former site of the plant that produced the Higgins Boats used in the war)—and meet some of the men and women who experienced WWII firsthand.

Students in Normandy with gun

Objectives & Academic Benefits

  • Explore the strategies and decisions that led to Allied victory in Europe and the Pacific
  • Identify and make connections to leadership traits integral to Allied victory in World War II that are relevant to college and career paths
  • Learn and develop leadership skills
  • Develop research skills through both primary and secondary source research
  • Write clear and concise content for a specific audience of peers and museum professionals
  • Improve presentation and debate skills by presenting to both their peers and museum professionals
  • Identify the major theaters of World War II (Europe, Pacific, Home Front)
  • Learn through the personal stories of those who were there
Student Leadership Academy

Exclusive Experiences


Embark on the ride of a lifetime aboard PT-305, the world's only fully restored, combat veteran patrol torpedo boat. Housed at Lakeshore Landing on Lake Pontchartrain, one of the Navy's fastest and most maneuverable boats takes students on a memorable excursion on the lake.

Built in New Orleans by Higgins Industries, the patrol-torpedo (PT) boat PT-305 was a critical asset for the US Navy during World War II, serving in European waters from 1944 to the end of the war. Heavily armed, equipped with advanced technology, uniquely maneuverable, often ingeniously modified, and reliant on cooperation and teamwork, PT boats were a perfect naval expression of the American spirit at war. With small crews within collaborative 12-ship squadrons, they were also the home to a colorful collection of Navy sailors and a dramatic backdrop for moving personal stories of war, including the trials of cramped quarters, the terrifying thrill of combat, and humorous tales of shore-leave escapades.

Following her wartime service, PT-305 served as a New York tour boat, a fishing charter, and an oyster boat, undergoing modifications along the way: new, less-costly engines; several new paint jobs; and a dramatic reduction in length. When she was acquired by The National WWII Museum, PT-305 was in dry dock in Galveston, Texas, and in serious disrepair. In April 2007, accompanied by Museum curators, PT-305 found her way back to New Orleans, where The National WWII Museum became her home on land until she was restored to her former glory and re-started her life on Lake Pontchartrain in March 2017.

Jackson Barracks

The headquarters of the Louisiana National Guard, Jackson Barracks was authorized by President Andrew Jackson in 1832. Known originally as New Orleans Barracks, its location downriver from the city of New Orleans and its proximity to the forts protecting the city was strategic. Jackson's memories of the War of 1812—and the Battle of New Orleans, in particular—led to the realization that many of the country's coastal cities lacked adequate protection from an attack by sea.

In 1848, Jackson Barracks was receiving wounded soldiers from the Mexican-American War, and a federal hospital was added onsite in 1849. During the Civil War, Confederate forces controlled the barracks for less than one year after Louisiana's secession in 1861. After the war, the site was officially named Jackson Barracks.

Jackson Barracks served as a staging ground and port of embarkation during World War I and World War II. Between the wars, the barracks was granted to the Louisiana National Guard. It was brought under federal control again during World War II, before reverting back to state control after the war.

In 2005, Jackson Barracks was nearly destroyed by up to 20 feet of water released by the levee breeches during Hurricane Katrina. The Jackson Barracks Military Museum's collection suffered, but the archivists and curators have worked diligently to restore documents, photographs, and artifacts central to Louisiana's military history.

Bollinger Shipyards

Family owned and operated since 1946, Bollinger Shipyards specializes in new construction, steel fabrication, vessel repair, and conversion of a wide variety of US Coast Guard and military vessels as well as commercial offshore and inland vessels. Bollinger currently operates 10 shipyards strategically located throughout southern Louisiana with unrestricted access to the central Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River.

Since 1984, Bollinger has designed and built over 143 high-speed US Coast Guard patrol vessels, and today is building the US Coast Guard’s 154-foot Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutters. Their success designing and building high-performance patrol boats, delivered on time and on budget for the US government, is unmatched by any other domestic shipyard.

Student Leadership Academy

Expert Educators

Student Programs Specialist

Adam Foreman

Adam Foreman serves The National WWII Museum as the Student Programs Specialist, utilizing over 10 years of museum educational experience. Adam received his master's degree in public history from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and participated in the Public History Institute at Yale University. He has worked with The National Trust for Historic Preservation and The Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area, and served as Director of Melrose Plantation. Adam started working at the Museum in 2015, first managing public programs, and he now coordinates the National History Day contests in Louisiana, leads both Normandy Academy and Student Leadership Academy, and manages Get in the Scrap!, the Museum’s national service learning project.

Adam Foreman
Student Leadership Academy


Student Leadership Academy: $975* ($790* without accommodations)

*Course fees of $800.84 will be added to the final invoice for students enrolling in the college course for 3 credit hours with Nicholls State University.

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Student Leadership Academy