I recently had the opportunity to visit the incredible National World War II Museum in New Orleans. It was one of my most memorable stops while staying in the Warehouse District this summer, which I wrote about previously (read it here.)
The sprawling National World War II Museum opened on June 6, 2000, the 56th anniversary of D-Day, and was originally called the National D-Day Museum. It is located in downtown New Orleans, and contains five pavilions on a six-acre campus. The museum is a remembrance and celebration of the major contributions and sacrifices Americans made during the war, and features multimedia exhibits, immersive displays, and an expansive collection of amazing artifacts.
I began my visit at the original exhibit hall, the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion. There you’ll see fascinating exhibits about not just the actual fighting, but about happenings on the home front, how the war started, the Pearl Harbor invasion, how we planned for the massive D-Day invasion, and so much more.
After exploring the main pavilion, I headed to the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center, where you can get up close and personal with the vehicles we relied so heavily upon during the war. (Tanks, trucks, the iconic jeep, etc.) Here you’ll also get to see weapons, some of the original aircraft used in WW II, and a submarine exhibit where you get to be a crew member inside a mock up of the USS Tang, the most successful submarine in U.S. history.
I found the propaganda exhibit quite interesting, and I also enjoyed seeing the Enigma machine, which the Germans used to send secret, coded messages. We finally were able to break the codes, and the way we did it was depicted brilliantly in the 2014 film, “The Imitation Game”.
And speaking of films, one of my favorite experiences was watching the epic and extraordinary movie, “Beyond All Boundaries” on the giant panoramic screen in the Solomon Victory Theater. They call it a 4-dimensional production, and it truly is an all-encompassing experience. During the thrilling battle sequences you see flashing lights, you feel a rumble in your seats, and you hear the bombs exploding all around you. And to top it off, it’s narrated by one of my all-time favorite actors, Tom Hanks!
This is just a taste of what you can expect to see at the National WWII Museum, a wonderful institution that shows the monumental efforts Americans made in the war that changed the world. Makes one proud to be an American!