If you enjoy the many freedoms available in America, a must-do is the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Here you learn of the sacrifices everyday men and women made for you to enjoy the many liberties often taken for granted. WW II may have ended decades ago, but its lessons and victories must not be forgotten.
The museum’s talented curators have masterfully combined mediums, while telling the story of how this worldwide struggle against fascist and racist oppression was won. On a recent trip to New Orleans, I spent a few hours visiting several of their exhibits. Those I had time for were: The Arsenal of Democracy, Road to Tokyo, Road to Berlin, and The D-Day Invasion of Normandy.
Arsenal of Democracy
The Arsenal of Democracy, located in the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion, is the Museum’s newest permanent exhibit. Here the focus is on the effort and sacrifice made by those on the home front. The story is told using a combination of artifacts, video, and interactive presentations.
Road to Tokyo
The Road to Tokyo starts with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and follows island hopping sailors, marines, soldiers, and airmen until the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, which brought an end to the war. The exhibit brings to life the epic life and death struggles through oral histories, videos, and personal artifacts of those who brought forth almost super-human effort to overcome the unrelenting attacks of the Japanese. This is an especially moving and emotional exhibit.
Road to Berlin
Covering the European theater is the Road to Berlin exhibit. Again, the story is told using a combination of personal artifacts, interactive displays, and realistic recreations. Their utilization makes as real as possible the pain, suffering, and sacrifice. The story begins with the not-so-successful early battles in North Africa to the final, bloody days as Berlin fell to the Allies.
D-Day Normandy Invasion
The most decisive amphibious invasion ever receives special treatment in the D-Day Normandy Invasion exhibit. Never before had an operation of this scale been attempted by a multi-national force. This exhibit expertly captures the logistical feat and the human sacrifice necessary for this Allied victory.
These are just a few of the many exhibits here. While many museums do a great job telling the multi-layered and nuanced stories of World War II, none do it better than The National World War II Museum.