NEW ORLEANS (September 13, 2016)—The National WWII Museum recorded a record-breaking month in March 2016 as the institution welcomed 81,703 visitors, smashing the previous monthly record of 73,449. The Museum also welcomed its five millionth visitor on March 19. The visitation milestones come shortly after the institution opened another major exhibit, Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries.
Last September, the Museum was recognized in the 2015 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice™ awards for museums, ranking No. 3 in the nation—up from No. 4 in the previous year. The institution remains the No. 1 attraction in New Orleans for the third consecutive year in TripAdvisor ratings, and 48 percent of its out-of-town visitors cite the Museum as a top or very important reason for visiting the city, evidence of the Museum’s sweeping economic impact.
“It’s thrilling to watch as our Museum continues to grow in innovative ways,” said Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, PhD, president and CEO of the Museum. “The expanded Museum features a myriad of captivating exhibits that are allowing our visitors to experience the story of World War II like never before. We’ve had the honor of sharing this story with more than 5 million people, and we are proud that as we advance our educational mission, we are supporting the cultural economy within the city of New Orleans: creating more than 300 jobs, drawing countless tourists to our city and driving more than 300,000 hotel room nights a year.”
Mueller, who helped to found the Museum with his friend, author and historian Stephen Ambrose, never imagined their dream would grow into such a major attraction and center for educational outreach. In addition to setting a new record for total visitation in one month, the Museum also experienced its highest volume of school group visitation in a single month—nearly 9,000 students (K-12 and college) visited the Museum on field trips in March. In all, 700,000 students have visited the Museum since the institution opened its doors on June 6, 2000.
Already a compelling national destination, the Museum is in the midst of a $370 million expansion designed to take the visitor experience to even greater heights. Nearly $260 million has already been raised as the organization forges ahead with plans to open new galleries in the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion that tell the story of the Home Front and the road to war, drawing on personal narratives and evocative artifacts to highlight facets of American life during the WWII era. Nine immersive galleries will recall pre-war domestic debates, the attack on Pearl Harbor, military recruitment and training, treatment of minority groups, manufacturing efforts and the Manhattan Project.
Additional stages of the Museum’s expansion plan include construction of the Hall of Democracy pavilion to house academic and outreach programs and additional exhibit space, and building of the Liberation Pavilion, focusing on end-of-war and postwar experiences, as well as the war’s meaning for citizens today. To unify the six-acre campus and create a formal entry to Museum grounds, exterior improvements will include a Founder’s Plaza along Andrew Higgins Drive and the Bollinger Canopy of Peace, which will symbolize the hope and promise unleashed by the end of WWII hostilities.
In addition to the continuing increase in visitation numbers, the Museum projects $108 million in annual state economic impact by 2017.
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—so that future generations will know the price of freedom, and be inspired by what they learn. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America's National WWII Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifices of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and served on the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-528-1944 or visit nationalww2museum.org.