The transformation of The National D-Day Museum into The National WWII Museum has been driven by a $400 million capital expansion campaign that has funded new pavilions, new infrastructure, and groundbreaking new exhibits while multiplying the size, scope, and visitation numbers of this world-class institution.
To beautify and unify the shared exterior spaces between all of these new elements, Founders Plaza creates an impressive entryway to the Museum campus, safe passage for Museum guests, and a pleasant setting for rest and reflection as part of the visitor experience.
Large Nuttall oak trees line Andrew Higgins Drive, providing color in the fall and shade in the summer, while paving stones, scattered throughout Founders Plaza, recognize treasured Museum donors and honorees and create an elegant visual space for outdoor events.
The Plaza, together with the existing Col. Battle Barksdale Parade Ground, also honors the WWII legacy of notable figures with one-of-a-kind tribute benches, each composed of a cut-stone slab and a life-size bronze statue. The tribute bench in honor of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt serves as reminder of his visionary leadership against fascist aggression in Europe—leading to ultimate victory. Future honorees will include a Red Ball Express soldier, Rosie the Riveter, and a war dog with his handler.
Another notable tribute is the Founders Recognition panel, honoring the story of the Museum's establishment by founder Stephen E. Ambrose, PhD, and founding president and CEO Gordon H. "Nick" Mueller, PhD. Opposite the plaza from the Founders Recognition panel is the Honoring Service and Sacrifice Major Donor Wall, an elegant marble display that recognizes the most generous Museum supporters.
Stephen Ambrose and Nick Mueller brought The National D-Day Museum to life on June 6, 2000, an institution ultimately designated "America’s National World War II Museum" by a 2004 act of Congress.
Governor Pete Wilson Liberty Flagstaff
Rising 80 feet, the Governor Pete Wilson Liberty Flagstaff lifts a large, illuminated US flag to a position of prominence above Founders Plaza. A US Marine and lifelong public servant, Pete Wilson served in the California State Assembly, as mayor of San Diego, as a US Senator, and as governor of California. He was elected to the Museum’s Board of Trustees in 2002, and served as the Board’s Chairman from 2006 to 2009. Wilson spoke at the Liberty Flagstaff’s dedication ceremony in June 2017. The spire that bears his name serves as an enduring symbol of the unique American spirit—unity, resolve, and devotion to the principles of freedom.
Horatio Alger Association American Spirit Bridge
A key architectural feature that unites the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion with the Solomon Victory Theater complex, the Horatio Alger Association American Spirit Bridge, dedicated in January 2017, symbolizes US troops’ journey across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to battle and staging zones.
Explore The CampusMuseum Campus Guide
Louisiana Memorial Pavilion
The Louisiana Memorial Pavilion exhibits take visitors into the monumental efforts on the Home Front and to the beaches of Normandy—focusing on the thousands of men and women who made Allied victory in World War II possible.
Campaigns of Courage
In a war where the terrain was as deadly as the enemy, this pavilion tells the story of American servicemembers abroad—and how they overcame unprecedented challenges on multiple fronts to win victory in World War II. In over 19,000 square feet of exhibit space, two extraordinary exhibitions bring visitors inside the epic story of the war in its most infamous settings, bringing to life jungles, beaches, mountains, and oceans in 19 immersive galleries.
Solomon Victory Theater
The Solomon Victory Theater is home to Beyond All Boundaries, a 4D cinematic experience produced exclusively for The National WWII Museum by Tom Hanks—who narrates the film—and Phil Hettema.
Hall of Democracy
The Hall of Democracy represents the center of the Museum’s expanding educational outreach initiatives—providing a space that will enable the institution to share its collections, oral histories, research, and expertise with audiences across the world.
US Freedom Pavilion
In World War II—the war that changed the world—freedom hung in the balance. Americans answered the call to protect that freedom with 16 million men and women serving in uniform and an untold number of citizens of all ages doing their part on the Home Front. In US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center, we honor their contributions.
The Higgins Hotel & Conference Center
The official Hotel of The National WWII Museum, this stunning art-deco style property offers first-class accommodations, meeting spaces, and dining options providing a sophisticated lodging experience for guests.
John E. Kushner Restoration Pavilion
The John E. Kushner Restoration Pavilion features glass exterior walls that allow the public a permanent, behind-the-scenes view of the restoration and preservation of priceless WWII artifacts. New to the pavilion is the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) Innovation Gallery, which focuses on how problems were solved during World War II through ingenuity and innovation.
Founders Plaza creates an impressive entryway to the Museum campus, safe passage for Museum guests, and a pleasant setting for rest and reflection as part of the visitor experience.
Bollinger Canopy of Peace
The soaring Bollinger Canopy of Peace, set to stand 150 feet tall, will unify the Museum's diverse campus and establish the Museum as a fixture on the New Orleans skyline.
Three building levels will explore the closing months of the war and immediate postwar years, concluding with an explanation of links to our lives today.