NEW ORLEANS (June 4, 2012) — On June 6, 2012, The National WWII Museum will simultaneously commemorate its 12th anniversary and the 68th anniversary of the D-Day invasion at Normandy, France. A variety of programs, as well as a special exhibit, will be offered to provide in-depth information on one of the most pivotal battles in world history, while also paying tribute to a major milestone in the Museum’s own history.
There is much to celebrate this year, as plans for the next phase of the Museum’s $300 million expansion are under way: the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center, scheduled to open in January of 2013, will honor all of the branches of the US Armed Forces that were active in the war, including the Coast Guard and Merchant Marine. It will contain a spectacular collection of macro artifacts, including a restored B-17 E Flying Fortress. A signature exhibit in the new pavilion will be Final Mission: The USS Tang Submarine Experience, an interactive submarine experience based on the final mission of the USS Tang in the Pacific Theater. Visitors will man the positions and perform the battle actions of actual crew members as the sub engages Japanese Imperial forces. Elsewhere in the pavilion, a special section will feature a wall of images of all 464 WWII Medal of Honor recipients and include interactive kiosks which detail the military and personal history of each service member so honored.
“The Museum has come a long way in the 12 years since we opened, and as we mark this important anniversary and remember the D-Day invasion, we are in the process of becoming an even greater institution with the addition of this soaring new pavilion,” said Dr. Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, Museum President and CEO. “By adding to our attractions we can bring even more stories of WWII to younger generations so that they can learn the important lessons of the war that changed the world, and why they are still important today.”
Special Exhibits and Ceremonies
A special exhibit, “Snapshots of D-Day: Photographs of the Normandy Invasion,” will be on display from June 2 through July 8. The exhibit captures some of the most dramatic moments of the massive June 6, 1944 invasion, featuring well-known and rarely-seen images of combat on the beaches and in the hedgerows of Normandy. A selection of helmets related to the Normandy campaign and a Korean War helmet issued to Major Richard Winters, former Easy Company Commander of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment during World War II, will also be on display.
On Tuesday, June 5, the Museum will host author Jonathan Parshall, founder of the web’s foremost site on the Japanese Imperial Navy and co-author of Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway, as part of its General Raymond E. Mason, Jr. Distinguished Lecture Series on World War II. The evening will include a 5 p.m. reception followed by Parshall’s presentation, “The 70th Anniversary of the Battle of the Midway: The Turning Point in the Pacific,” and a 7 p.m. book-signing. The presentation will be complemented by the Museum’s exhibit, “Turning Point: The Doolittle Raid, Battle of the Coral Sea and Battle of Midway,” which is now open and will be on display through July 8.
On Wednesday, June 6, the Museum will hold a special ceremony beginning at 11 a.m., followed by a Lunchbox Lecture, “Stories of Combat from June 1944,” by staff historian and curator Tommy Lofton. Lofton’s presentation will focus not only on the Normandy invasion, but also on other events overshadowed by Operation Overlord, using riveting accounts from the Museum’s oral history collection. Guests are invited to bring their lunch or simply attend the lecture.
Throughout the day, Museum visitors may also take part in a special “White Glove Wednesdays” activity in which they can try on uniforms and equipment worn by American paratroopers and infantrymen as they landed in Normandy — as well as the uniforms and equipment of the German soldiers who tried to stop them.
The National WWII 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 designated by Congress as America’s National WWII 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.