Atrium

The Arsenal of Democracy
Atrium entrance to The Arsenal of Democracy galleries

On the second floor of the Museum’s original Louisiana Memorial Pavilion, the entryway to The Arsenal of Democracy features a looping video and striking “E for Excellence” banner to attract the eye and introduce the themes of manufacturing and the iconography of WWII America.

The short, narrated video tells the story of the Brown Shipbuilding company and its founders, exhibit namesakes Herman and George Brown, engineers who rose to the challenge of the war by taking on massive new wartime construction projects, and who demonstrated the patriotic spirit of millions of Americans engaged in war work. Before the war, the Brown brothers and their parent firm, Brown and Root, had built roads and dams in Texas, as well as the Corpus Christi naval base. Their superior work led to US Navy contracts to build destroyer escorts (DEs) and patrol craft. Although they had never before built a ship, the Browns turned out about 355 warships from their Greens Bayou shipyard, and did so under budget and at a level of exceptional quality. After the war, the Brown brothers continued to exemplify the wartime virtues of innovation, technological advancement, and “can-do” spirit, as they became the first to drill offshore for oil in the Gulf of Mexico, pursued new engineering and business ventures around the world, and engaged in philanthropy.