Press Release

The National WWII Museum tops out new Theater and Canteen

New venues to open in a year kicking off $300 million Museum expansion

NEW ORLEANS (October 16, 2008) – World War II vets, reenactors, stakeholders and staff of The National WWII Museum gathered today to celebrate a milestone in the construction of the new Victory Theater and Stage Door Canteen complex, the installation of steel at the highest point on the building’s frame, also known as the topping out.

World War II veterans were invited to personally sign the steel beam shortly before the Satterfield & Pontikes Construction crew maneuvered the 900-pound piece of steel into place, 66-feet 6-inches, above Andrew Higgins Drive. Museum staff and volunteers also signed their names on the beam, many adding the names of family members who fought in the war and veterans who have passed away.

“We owe these veterans an immeasurable debt of gratitude,” said Museum President and CEO, Gordon “Nick” Mueller. “We owe them for nothing less than our very freedom.” Mueller also saluted donors J. Wayne Leonard, Entergy and the Entergy Foundation for making the first $1 million gift to the capital expansion.

Upon its completion approximately one year from now, the Victory Theater will screen regular showings of Beyond All Boundaries, a cinematic experience designed exclusively for the Museum by Director Phil Hettema and Executive Producer Tom Hanks. The Stage Door Canteen will be a lively, 1940s-style entertainment venue and restaurant.

The National World War II 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 all generations will understand 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 the nation’s official 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 504-527-6012 or visit