American entertainer Bob Hope began his career as an immigrant who came to the United States with his family as a young boy. In the early 1920s, he worked as a newsboy, a butcher’s assistant, a shoe salesman, and an amateur boxer to scrape by. In the decades that followed, Hope shaped his art on the vaudeville stage, and by the start of World War II, he was just emerging as one of America’s most popular radio and film stars.
When America went to war in 1941, Hollywood recognized the need for contributions and responded by entertaining troops, raising funds, and boosting morale. Hope’s work quickly took on new meaning when he was asked to perform his show outside of the studio, in front of a military audience at March Field, California. That day, he discovered what would become his most cherished audience: the armed forces. Hope later flipped the format of the show entirely and took his wartime programs on the road to military camps and bases across the country, inspiring other entertainers to join him. During the war, only nine of Hope’s 144 broadcasts were recorded in the studio—the rest were performed in front of troops.
So Ready for Laughter: The Legacy of Bob Hope, the Museum’s newest special exhibit, tells the story of Hope’s unique place in the history of World War II and beyond, and the contributions he made that still reverberate more than 70 years later. Using multimedia elements and captivating storytelling—including artifacts, films, photographs, and interactive displays—the exhibit highlights how Hope helped lift the human spirit during one of the darkest times in American history.
Supported by the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation. With special thanks to the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum.
All images courtesy of the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation Collection and the World Golf Hall of Fame & Museum, unless otherwise noted.
Available for Booking
- January 2022 – December 2022
- May 2023 – December 2023
- 12 week minimum booking
- Contact Traveling.Exhibits@nationalww2museum.org for more information
New York Historical Society
New York, NY
Display Dates: February 5, 2021 – September 5, 2021
Display Dates: November 12, 2021 – March 7, 2022
National Museum of United States Army
Fort Belvoir, VA
Display Dates: September 17, 2022 – January 27, 2023
The National Museum of Nuclear Science & History
Display Dates: February 3, 2023 – April 30, 2023
- Minimum of 2,000 square feet
- Secure exhibit space that is staffed during open hours
- Gallery lighting (exhibit is not self-lit)
- Minimum of two-person installation crew
- Certificate of Insurance
Application and Forms
Are you interested in bringing this exhibit to your institution? Please review our current schedule/availability, installation logistics page, and the forms below and contact us by phone or email if you need more information. Once you have reviewed all the information, please submit all materials and we will review and inform you of any concerns regarding a potential exhibit presentation. If you are approved as a host venue, we will contact you and proceed with contracting.
Submit by mail to:
Traveling Exhibits Manager
The National WWII Museum
945 Magazine Street, New Orleans, 70130
Submit by email to:
Download, fill out, and scan or mail the Host Application and Facility Report below. The Facility Report provides a record of the latest information about an institution's physical specifications and staff practices, and will help us better serve your institution's needs.
Traveling exhibit application
Please fill out the following report when the exhibit closes at your institution. It will help us improve host institutions' experiences and learn visitation patterns, as well as information regarding associated educational programs and events.