New Orleans, LA (May 25, 2011) — The National WWII Museum hits another milestone in its ongoing $300 million expansion project with the June 4 opening of the John E. Kushner Restoration Pavilion. This latest addition to the Museum campus is unique, featuring glass exterior walls that will allow the public a permanent, behind-the-scenes view of the restoration and preservation of priceless World War II artifacts. Visitors will be able to see first-hand the techniques that conservators use to repair and restore boats, vehicles, weapons, military equipment and other artifacts which played an important role in winning World War II for the Allies.
One of the first items to be restored inside the 14,000-square-foot facility will be a Higgins Industries PT-boat, PT-305. Built in New Orleans, the vessel saw service in the Mediterranean Theater. Additional artifacts will include a Sherman Tank, numerous artillery pieces, a German Opal staff car and a Dodge ambulance.
Chevron, begins at 10:00 am with a ceremony including speakers from the Museum, the Kushner family, donors and government officials. The Museum will conduct free public tours of the facility every half hour beginning at 11:00 am. Also beginning at 11:00 am, The Museum’s Education staff will offer free children’s activities and the Museum Store will debut exclusive PT-305 merchandise.
Free daily tours of the John E. Kushner Restoration Pavilion will begin in July, based on availability. Visitors can register for the tours when they arrive at the Museum on a first-come, first-served basis.
A native New Orleanian, John E. Kushner was an ardent enthusiast of World War II history, and donated several valuable items to the Museum’s collection of wartime artifacts – including a World War II Jeep similar to the one his father, Jack Kushner, had driven during his service in the War. John believed in the importance of educating future generations about the values and lessons of World War II, and was instrumental in securing the original Museum site. He was one of the initial Trustees of the Museum – serving in that capacity from 1997 until his untimely death in 2005. Kushner had a particular affinity for collecting and restoring artifacts. The Museum’s new Restoration Pavilion will provide an exceptional and highly anticipated space for Museum staff and volunteers to carry on that important activity.
The $3 million project is partially funded by an award from the United States Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration.
The National WWII Museum in New Orleans 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 504-528-1944 or visit www.nationalww2museum.org. Follow us on Twitter at WWIImuseum or visit our Facebook fan page.