NEW ORLEANS (February 19, 2019) – New York’s Peter and Mary Kalikow – the first donors in the history of The National D-Day Museum – have pledged an additional $1 million to the institution now known as The National WWII Museum to support its $400 million Road to Victory Capital Campaign, which funds the campus expansion. The Capital Campaign, which also supports exhibit design and fabrication, endowment, and ongoing digitization efforts, has raised over $345 million towards its goal.
Peter Kalikow – whose father was a WWII veteran with the US Marine Corps – is the family’s third generation president of H.J. Kalikow & Company, LLC, one of New York’s leading real estate firms. Through an initial gift of $50,000 in 1990, Peter Kalikow helped realize Stephen Ambrose’s dream of creating a museum dedicated to Americans who served on D-Day in Normandy. The early donation represented critical seed money for opening the doors of The National D-Day Museum in 2000.
“In 1990, after Stephen Ambrose hatched the Museum concept, and we were both trying to figure out how to get started, Peter Kalikow was the only person willing to risk $50,000 to pay for a modest feasibility study to test our idea,” said Dr. Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, Founding President & CEO, who worked alongside his friend Ambrose to develop the Museum and continues to serve in an emeritus role. “That took courage. In those early days, most thought we were just two crazy historians with an impossible dream.”
The Kalikow family’s additional support for preservation of oral histories in the Eisenhower Center Peter Kalikow World War II-era Collection at the University of New Orleans also provided an invaluable resource for the Museum’s research and publications work. The Museum manages the collection.
Today, The National WWII Museum spans five pavilions featuring several permanent exhibits, which now tell the complete story of America’s road to war and the fight to secure freedom overseas. Permanent exhibits include The Arsenal of Democracy: The Herman and George R. Brown Salute to the Home Front, Richard C. Adkerson & Freeport-McMoRan Foundation Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries, The Duchossois Family Road to Berlin: European Theater Galleries and the institution’s original exhibit The D-Day Invasion of Normandy, which recently reopened to the public after undergoing renovations.
“It is my sincere hope that our most recent donation to the Museum will help ensure a successful continuation and expansion of the physical campus,” said Peter Kalikow. “It is imperative that our succeeding younger generations have a permanent place to visit and witness the loyalty, the pain and the sacrifices made by what was truly the Greatest Generation. My wife Mary and I are proud that our contribution will support the final push towards the completion of a world-class facility.”
When complete in 2021, the Museum’s campus will have quadrupled in size since its opening. The Bollinger Canopy of Peace – a 150-foot-high architectural structure – will rise above the institution and become an iconic element on the New Orleans skyline. Additional expansion plans include The Higgins Hotel & Conference Center, an elegant property that will feature 230 guest rooms and more than 18,000 square feet of conference space to support the institution’s expanding visitation and educational programs; the Hall of Democracy pavilion, which will house academic and outreach programs as well as additional exhibit and retail space; and the Liberation Pavilion, focusing on end-of-war and postwar experiences, as well as the war’s meaning for citizens today.
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. The 2018 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards ranks the Museum No. 3 in the nation and No. 8 in the world. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-528-1944 or visit nationalww2museum.org.