All About the WW2 Museum In New Orleans
What began as the National D-Day Museum, founded by the late historian Stephen Ambrose, was Congressionally designated as the National World War II Museum in 2003. With a $400 million capital expansion, the museum aims to complete its New Orleans campus in 2021.
Located in NOLA's Central Business District, the museum reports that over 6.6 million people have visited since its opening in 2000, including 754,465 guests who toured the attraction last year alone, and the museum brings $196 million a year in economic impact to Louisiana. In 2018, TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice Awards gave it the number 3 ranking in the U.S.—behind The National 9/11 Memorial & Museum and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, both in New York. The WW2 Museum was ranked 8th in the world.
Why are visitors flocking there—and why should you join them?
In a nutshell, there's a spirit of make-it-real storytelling that sets this museum apart. It focuses on the American experience during World War II but takes you all over the world in the process—literally. Its travel education program invites vacationers on immersive trips, led by historians and other experts, to some of the most important sites of the war, from Pacific islands to Normandy. Learn about the museum's international tour program here.
Those of us who aren't looking to get our passports stamped can still take an immersive journey through five pavilions, four permanent exhibits, and temporary special exhibits on the museum campus in New Orleans.
Get ticket prices and order in advance here. Unless you want to zoom through the exhibits, consider a second-day pass (it's only $7 extra).
Here's the lay of the land:
LOUISIANA MEMORIAL PAVILION
This is the main museum entrance, where you purchase tickets onsite.
Climb aboard the L.W. "Pete" Kent Train Car Experience, which simulates a troop train. You'll be given a digitized dog tag with information about a particular veteran, whose story you can trace through the museum. The dog tag also lets you store additional info and take it home with you.
Explore two permanent exhibits:
The Arsenal of Democracy: The Herman and George R. Brown Salute to the Home Front
The D-Day Invasion of Normandy
SOLOMON VICTORY THEATER
See Beyond All Boundaries, an incredible 4D film about the war, narrated and executive-produced by Tom Hanks.
Kick up your heels at BB's Stage Door Canteen, a recreation of the original canteen for GIs. Enjoy live music from the war years and other entertainment and dining.
CAMPAIGNS OF COURAGE: EUROPEAN AND PACIFIC THEATERS
Explore two permanent exhibits:
Richard C. Adkerson & Freeport-McMoRan Foundation Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries
The Duchossois Family Road to Berlin: European Theater Galleries
U.S. FREEDOM PAVILION: THE BOEING CENTER
See authentic, restored war vehicles including several fighter planes.
JOHN E. KUSHNER RESTORATION PAVILION
Get a close look at "micro-artifacts" and learn how science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) influenced the outcome of the war.
Canopy of Peace
Architecturally striking, it will umbrella the museum campus.
The Higgins Hotel & Conference Center
(Aside: NOLA-based Higgins Industries manufactured the landing boats that carried troops ashore at Guadalcanal and in North Africa in 1942. You can see one of the boats at the museum.)
Hall of Democracy Pavilion
It will house additional exhibits, along with educational and community outreach programs.
What happened to ordinary people at the end of the war and in its aftermath? And what did it all mean? You'll be able to explore the answers here.
WATCH: Tennessee Nonprofit Helps World War II Veteran Reunite With Lost Love After 75 Years
We challenge you to watch their sweet love story without smiling and/or getting a little misty. We know we couldn't. Hallmark Channel, have you seen this?