New Orleans Museum Becomes First Educational Facility for WWII History
One of those individuals, US Senator Theodore Stevens of Alaska, a veteran of the China-Burma-India campaign, offered a tall order. Telling me and Ambrose that “this was America’s best war museum,” he said if we and the museum trustees would agree to develop and tell the full story of the experience of the war. World War II – on land, at sea, in the air, and on the home front – then he would help secure seed funding from Congress.
We agreed (with some trepidation), and over the next three years Stevens and his close friend, World War II veteran and Medal of Honor recipient Senator Daniel Inouye of Hawaii worked with Senator Mary Landrieu and other members of our delegation from Louisiana. to secure funds to buy three city blocks and develop a master plan for expansion. The State of Louisiana and private donors have also provided substantial financial assistance.
With the land purchase and master plan completed by 2003, the museum announced a $ 288 million fundraising campaign to develop a six-acre, 300,000-square-foot campus. Les Sens Stevens, Inouye, and Landrieu then obtained approval for a Congressional resolution in 2004 designating the National WWII Museum as the official American museum of the WWII experience.
Ambrose passed away in 2002, passing the leadership torch to me, the founding president.
Since 2000, we have weathered huge setbacks from Hurricane Katrina in 2005, funding challenges and the economic recession of 2008. I have worked regularly with the National Board of Directors and talented and resilient staff to create extraordinary exhibitions and programs. These efforts have been rewarded with a dramatic increase in visits and donations.
The museum’s reputation reached new heights in 2009, when it first presented the 4-D multimedia experience “Beyond All Boundaries”, produced by the Hettema Group and narrated by Hanks.
Then comes the opening of the American pavilion of freedom: the Boeing Center, in 2013, followed in 2014-15 by the permanent exhibition galleries “The Berlin Road” and “The Tokyo Road” hosted in the Campaigns of Courage : Europe and the Pacific. Pavilion of theaters. The exhibition “The Arsenal of Democracy: The Herman and George R. Brown Salute to the Home Front,” which opened in 2017, dedicates its galleries to citizens who have supported the war effort in countless ways. In 2017, the museum was ranked by TripAdvisor readers as the second most popular museum in America.
The museum’s Liberation Pavilion, which will open in 2021, will focus on powerful legacies of war – a project that will increase our fundraising goal to $ 400 million. And for distant audiences unable to visit our campus, the museum established the Institute for the Study of War and Democracy and the WWII Media and Education Center to produce online content. . Both will be housed in the Hall of Democracy, which will open later this year.