The National WWII Museum (https://www.nationalww2museum.org/) takes up several city blocks off of Magazine Street a stone's throw from the Mississippi River. Doors opened here in June of 2000 and in 17 short years the facility has grown like proverbial weeds. Now, it's the #2 museum in the country and #2 in the world. It clearly earns every accolade. The exhibits are built in the quality of Hollywood sets and are so completely realistic you feel as if you're there. It would take days to view all the film reels and movie clips they have secreted in walls, panes of glass, projected on table tops and inside suitcases. Reading all the storyboards from the various exhibits inside the multiple buildings would be many more days. Inside the entrance above your head hangs a C-47 Skytrain airplane. A Howitzer and Higgins boat are underneath. A passenger train provides space to introduce you to a solider, sailor or other person from the WW2 era and to follow their history throughout the exhibit. There is a 4D film presentation produced by actor Tom Hanks, "Beyond All Boundaries". You will experience the sensation of bomb blasts, snow falling from above and the movement of bomber planes in action as you watch the engrossing film.
Active exhibits include: the D-Day Invasion of Normandy; Arsenal of Democracy; the John E. Kushner Restoration Pavillion where the PT 305 Higgins boat was fully restored; BB's Stage Door Canteen where the Victory Belles perform; Ralph
E. Crump Merchant Marine Gallery; US Freedom Pavillion: The Boeing Center; the USS Tang Submarine Exhibit; the Road to Berlin and the Road to Tokyo. We spent two days there, even attended the Pearl Harbor Day ceremony. Needless to say we
need to go back as we missed a few things. The museum is constantly adding on and currently building a new exhibit space. A canopy will cover the entire complex and protect visitors from the sun and inclimate weather. Across the street they have broken ground for a hotel complex that will open in May of 2019. As soon as I'm able, I'm booking a room!
If you have artifacts, oral histories or any documents/photos from your man or woman who served in any capacity during WW2, the museum would love to take donations of original items or copies for their archives. The person to contact to discuss any donations is Toni Kiser at email@example.com. Toni is also available to help with any research. At present, I've given her some STRONG documents for their archives, as they had none. I plan on giving her more in the future. Many of you have shared information with me that includes documents and photos. If I may have your permission to share this with the museum, please let me know.
By the end of the week it was 40 degrees with rain. They even had to de-ice our wings on Friday as we were heading home! In spite of the dramatic weather change I wouldn't have missed this trip for anything and can't wait to go back. If you plan on heading to New Orleans and need recommendations about the museum or places to stay, pop me a note. And remember, Kevin Wheeler is ready to be your host and meet any and all STRONG family members who come to visit. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.