Originally opened as the D-Day Museum in 2000, the National WW II Museum has since become one of the highest-rated museums in the United States according to TripAdvisor. The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war. Since its inception, the museum has experienced a drastic expansion and now features several large exhibit halls on its campus. From authentic war aircraft to soldier's diaries, the stories from World War II come alive in this unique museum.
The museum opened on June 6, 2000, the 56th anniversary of D-Day, as the D-Day Museum and was specifically dedicated to that event within the larger war. However, since being designated by Congress as the country's official national World War II museum in 2003, its has expanded in both its scope and size. It has since dedicated itself to exploring the American experience within the larger war and not just with the D-Day landings.
New Orleans was chosen as the site of the original D-Day Museum due to the fact that the Higgins Boats, that transported the thousands of troops who landed on the French shores, were designed, built and tested by Higgins Industries located within the city. The creation of the museum was led by its founder, author and historian Stephen Ambrose, who was born and raised in New Orleans. The Band of Brothers author then witnessed his efforts expand beyond his dreams as the museum outgrew its original Louisiana Pavilion building into several massive exhibit halls.
In 2009, the museum added its Solomon Victory Theater that features its 4D "Beyond All Boundaries" documentary which provides visitors with an overview of the war. The John E. Kushner Restoration Pavilion was completed in 2011 and is tasked with restoring newly acquired artifacts as well as maintaining and preserving those already within the museum. It features glass exterior walls that permits visitors to view the restoration and preservation efforts as they happen.
The largest building on the campus, Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center, opened in 2013 and features larger artifacts from the war, especially aircraft, many of which hang from its ceiling. Those aircraft include a B-17E Flying Fortress, a B-25J Mitchell bomber, and a P-51C Mustang fighter among others. The Campaigns of Courage Pavilion opened with its Road to Berlin Exhibit in 2014 and added its Road to Tokyo Exhibit the next year. Further expansion of the museum is planned as evidenced by the advent of a $300 million capital campaign in 2015, which will dedicate some of its funds to the completion of its newest building, the Liberation Pavilion.
The museum features various permanent exhibits as well as rotating ones, such as its "State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda." It also sponsors traveling exhibits, an example being its "Fighting for the Right to Fight: African American Experiences in World War II" exhibit. It also features lectures, a Meet the Author series, and a variety of symposiums. The museum also offers dining options at its American Sector Restaurant and Bar and live show at its Stage Door Canteen which also features live shows.
"Visit: Museum Campus." National WW II Museum. Accessed February 6, 2017. http://www.nationalww2museum.org/visit/campus-map.html
Rothstein, Edward. "A Big Exhibition About an Even Bigger War." The New York Times. January 11, 2013. Accessed February 6, 2017. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/12/arts/design/national-world-war-ii-museum-in-new-orleans-expands.ht...
Pope, John. "D-Day 2015: National World War II Museum has evolved mightily in 15 years." The Times-Picayune. June 4, 2015. Accessed February 6, 2017. http://www.nola.com/military/index.ssf/2015/06/national_world_war_ii_museum_d.html
Nickell, Patti. "National World War II Museum offers a moving experience." Lexington Herald Leader. December 16, 2016. Accessed February 6, 2017. http://www.kentucky.com/living/travel/article121324838.html