The French Quarter, with all its cast iron and history and color and craziness…Bourbon Street, arguably the most aptly named thoroughfare of any in America…Preservation Hall, the Garden District, Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral, etc. etc.
We speak, of course, of New Orleans. NOLA. The Big Easy. One of the greatest and most iconic cities in America with a flavor all its own.
If you have enough time, you can see it all, but did you know what the No. 1 attraction in all of New Orleans is, according to TripAdvisor?
None of the above.
In a city rich with history, the National World War II Museum – less than two decades since its opening on June 6, 2000—has emerged as New Orleans’ No. 1 tourist attraction.
The Museum, which actually opened as the National D-Day Museum to honor the massive Allied invasion of France, has been in constant expansion to honor all facets of The Greatest Generation. Additionally, the Museum is actually a campus, with five different and distinct areas, including:
—Louisana Memorial Pavillion: This is the original building, featuring artifacts, special temporary exhibits and the Union Pacific Foundation Train Station.
—Solomon Victory Theater Complex: See, hear, and feel the epic story of World War II in the exclusive 4D experience ‘Beyond All Boundaries,’ which is narrated by two-time Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks, who happens to be an important benefactor and supporter of the Museum. Hanks starred in the hit film ‘Saving Private Ryan’ and produced the critically acclaimed HBO Series ‘Band of Brothers,’ both based on events in WWII.
—Campaigns of Courage: European and Pacific Theaters: Get a servicemember’s view of the key moments of the war in a timeline setting.
—U.S. Freedom Pavillion: The Boeing Center: As the name might suggest, this area of the Museum focuses on the aircraft of World War II as well as other critical machinery, including trucks and tanks.
—Founders Plaza: As the Museum suggests, take a break from touring in the peaceful setting of Founders Plaza, including the Founders Wall, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Tribute Bench and sections of Hitler’s Atlantic Wall among others.
And when we talk about the Museum constantly expanding, we mean it. ‘The Arsenal of Democracy: The Herman and George Brown Salute to the Home Front’, opened in early June of 2017 in the Louisiana Memorial Pavilion. This exhibit tells the story of the road to war and the Home Front, drawing on personal narratives and evocative artifacts to highlight facets of WWII-era American life through an experiential narrative.
Other experiential galleries include ‘Citizens to Warriors’, a look at military recruitment and training; ‘Manufacturing Victory’, the story of America’s industrial might depicted on a re-created factory floor; and the ‘Manhattan Project’, a look inside the top-secret—and world-altering—development of the atomic bomb.
There’s even an old-fashioned soda shop to grab something to eat, so spend some time with history and garner an appreciation of one of the most momentous time periods ever.
-From Travel Pulse News, June 27, 2017 by Rich Thomaselli
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