One of the most wonderful treasures in New Orleans is our fantastic World War II Museum. Established in 2000 as the National D-Day Museum, the facility originally showcased the building of the Higgins Boats which made possible the amphibious landing on the French beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944. The Higgins Boats were built and tested in New Orleans, and proved to be integral to the success of the Allied Forces as the landing in France on D-Day marked a turning point in the war. Originally founded by historian and author Stephen Ambrose, the museum’s goal is to tell the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world. This includes educating visitors on why the war was fought, how it was won, and what impact the war continues to have today.
In 2003, the U.S. Congress officially designated the museum as America’s National World War II Museum. Since opening on the 56th anniversary of D-Day, the museum has expanded to more than twice its original size, and currently hosts permanent exhibits on D-Day at Normandy, the Home Front, and the Pacific, as well as numberous visiting exhibits and a 4-D theater featuring the exclusive Tom Hanks production, Beyond All Boundaries. Visitors to the museum can also watch staff and volunteers restore artifacts at the John E Kushner Restoration Pavilion, and travel to the third floor viewing platform of the new Boeing Center’s Freedom Pavillion for a bird’s eye view of the planes displayed in the facility. The museum also includes the Stage Door Canteen, where music and entertainment of the Greatest Generation comes to life nearly every night, and Chef John Besh’s acclaimed restaurant, American Sector.
The National World War II Museum is open daily, and visitors are encouraged to reserve at least 2 1/2 – 3 hours for their visit. You can find more information here.