The National World War II Museum brings together the history of World War II with a focus on the role the United States, and the city of New Orleans, played on the Great War. It is associated with the Smithsonian Institution and opened in 2000 on the 56th anniversary of D-Day. Visitors are encouraged to spend at least three hours at the museum to fully appreciate it.
Start your visit at Warbirds, where there are massive planes like the Douglas C-47 Skytrain on display, which have been restored to the condition of when they flew above Germany and Japan. US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center is an exhibit designed to teach about the people that were involved in the war, including the brave men and women that made sacrifices on behalf of our country. In Vehicles of War, you’ll learn about the machinery involved in the war effort, from the Jeep to the ambulances and tanks.
New Orleans may seem like an odd place for the National World War II Museum to be placed, but it was here that the Higgins boat was created, adapting its use from the bayou and bringing it to the beaches of Normandy. The city is also home to Stephen Ambrose, the historian who wrote Band of Brothers, who spearheaded the efforts to bring the museum to New Orleans.
In addition to the exhibits, the Solomon Victory Theater plays the 4D film Beyond All Boundaries, which was created exclusively for the museum and produced by Tom Hanks. It tells the story of Pearl Harbor to Nazi Germany. The Malcolm Forbes Theater plays changing films, currently Price for Peace and D-Day Remembered. There’s also Final Mission: The USS Tang Experience, which is an exhibit about the final assignment of a 1944 submarine.
If You Go
The National World War II Museum is located at 945 Magazine Street New Orleans, LA 70130. It’s open daily from 9 am to 5 pm. Tickets to the museum are $23 for adults, $20 for seniors and $14 for children, students and military with ID. Additional entry into Beyond All Boundaries and Final Mission are $5 each and a second-day pass is an extra $6. Order discounted tickets online here.
The museum also has The American Sector restaurant and The Soda Shop for a quick bite. It also hosts events at Stage Door Canteen, including live music.
From I-10 East, stay right before continuing onto US-90 Business West. Take the Carondelet Street exit and turn left onto St. Charles Avenue at the end of the exit ramp. Continue under the bridge towards the Lee Circle roundabout. Take the first roundabout exit onto Andrew Higgins Drive, where you’ll see the museum.
Paid parking is available in the Andrew Higgins and Magazine Street deck. There are additional paid lots nearby. It’s a 25-minute walk from Café du Monde and elsewhere in the French Quarter. You can also take the #12 streetcar from Poydras Street to St. Joseph Street. Buses 11, 100 and 114 run between Canal Street and Poeyfarre Street via Magazine Street.
I received a pass to the National World War II Museum from the New Orleans Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, but all opinions are my own.