NEW ORLEANS (July 21, 2014) — This weekend, The National WWII Museum capped off a record-breaking fiscal year with another milestone: welcoming the 4 millionth visitor to the institution.
“We were just processing the news that visitation for fiscal year ’14 had exceeded 483,000—our best year yet—and then this,” said Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, Museum president and CEO. “That’s 4 million people who have visited and left the Museum with a better understanding of the significance and the legacies of World War II. They also have gained a deeper appreciation for those who served and sacrificed.”
This record beats the Museum’s previous best attendance year, fiscal year 2013, by more than 85,000 visitors.
The visitation milestone also comes on the heels of major events in New Orleans and France commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy, activities that generated worldwide media exposure for America’s WWII Museum and its mission.
Founded in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum, the Museum is in the midst of a stunning expansion. In 2009, the Solomon Victory Theater complex opened, featuring the exclusive 4D film, Beyond All Boundaries, produced and narrated by Tom Hanks. In 2013, the soaring US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center opened, increasing the scale of the campus and offering breathtaking views of WWII-era aircraft. Later this year, the Museum will continue to tell the personal stories of the war that changed the world with a new exhibit pavilion, Campaigns of Courage: European and Pacific Theaters.
Campaigns of Courage will open in two phases, the first being Road to Berlin: European Theater Galleries this December and the second, Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries, in late 2015.
Exhibits featuring immersive environments, interactive multimedia experiences, and artifacts large and small will tell the story of the nation’s transformation as it stumbled, largely unprepared, into North Africa, gained experience and strength in other European campaigns, and emerged as a leading world power after the defeat of Nazi Germany.
The final major exhibition hall in the Museum’s master plan, the Liberation Pavilion, will explore the postwar era and the war’s continuing influence in our society and world. Fundraising and design work is well under way for the Liberation Pavilion, which is scheduled for construction in 2016.
With 80% of visitors coming from outside the New Orleans area, the Museum can be classified as a destination attraction—driving 200,000 room nights in fiscal year 2014 alone. The National WWII Museum also earned numerous 2014 TripAdvisor Travelers Choice awards, including the number seven museum in the nation and number fourteen in the world and consistently holds the number one spot among New Orleans attractions.
“Each year hundreds of thousands of visitors have traveled to New Orleans to experience The National WWII Museum's awe-inspiring exhibits, planning their trips to our city around this truly unique and one-of-kind family of attraction. In doing so, these visitors then shared their journey with friends and family,” said Mark Romig, president and CEO of New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. “We join the rest of the tourism industry in sending congratulations and a heartfelt thank you to the staff and volunteers at the Museum for their tireless commitment to presenting excellence as a product and helping continue to build a stronger economy through these efforts.”
Mueller, who helped to found the Museum with his friend, historian and author Stephen Ambrose, never imagined their dream would grow into the destination attraction and center for educational outreach that it has become.
“If we learn anything from the American story in World War II, it’s that anything is possible with hard work and planning,” said Mueller, a former University of New Orleans history professor and administrator. “That’s what I see when I look at this campus: endless possibilities.”
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.