National WWII Museum

The National WWII Museum has become one of New Orleans’ most visited attractions. Located just across the street from the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, the National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience before, during, and after this monumental global conflict. Permanent exhibits here memorialize the war’s major fronts, as well as day-to-day life for Americans toiling at home in the name of freedom and liberty. In addition to its core gallery spaces, the National WWII Museum routinely hosts all manner of special exhibits, events, lectures, concerts, and more.

Money Saving Tip! National WWII Museum is included on the Go New Orleans Pass as well as the New Orleans Sightseeing Pass. If you are sightseeing in New Orleans, then you can save a lot of money with a pass.

National WWII Museum History

The National WWII Museum opened its doors to the public in 2000 as the National D-Day Museum. New Orleans was chosen as the site of this prestigious museum on account of how many “Higgins boats”—the landing crafts widely utilized at Normandy—were designed and built in the city. At that time, the museum consisted of just one single building.

A few years later, the United States Congress designated the facility the country’s official National WWII Museum. Today, the museum occupies six acres of prime real estate in the heart of New Orleans’ vibrant downtown, and is spread out across five unique, modern buildings. Plans for the construction of additional structures on the site remain in the works.

What’s at the National WWII Museum

The National WWII Museum is home to some half-dozen permanent exhibits that tell the story of the second world war from numerous powerful perspectives. There are exhibits here devoted to both the European and Pacific fronts, as well as an exhibit called “The Arsenal of Democracy,” which details the sacrifices made by ordinary citizens back home in America during the war. There are also galleries that focus on D-Day, the United States Merchant Marine, and New Orleans’ role as a shipbuilding hub during World War II.

There are fascinating “interactive experiences” to be had at the National WWII Museum. The most notable of these is Beyond All Boundaries, a 4-D film narrated by Tom Hanks. Final Mission: USS Tang Submarine Experience is another can’t-miss part of the museum. This exhibit lets visitors feel like they’re a part of this famous submarine crew’s dangerous final mission.

For those visitors interested in dining during their time at the museum, there are a couple options. The American Sector Restaurant & Bar focuses on hearty lunch fare, serving an assortment of soups, salads, burgers, sandwiches, and entrees like a cast-iron steak and shrimp and grits. The Jeri Nims Soda Shop recreates the vibe of a mid-twentieth-century diner, and is open for breakfast. Its menu also features several sandwiches and a variety of sweet desserts.

The Museum Store sells a wide selection of WWII-themed items. These include accessories, collectibles, clothing, posters, prints, DVDs, and a whole host of educational materials. The store also sells patriotic gifts, jewelry, and a great many books.

Tips for Visiting the National WWII Museum

  • Guests looking for an unforgettable insider’s experience will want to consider a guided tour of the facility. These guided tours are available on a variety of subjects, and can be a fun way to view artifacts that aren’t typically on display at the museum. For more information, visit the museum’s official website.
  • The National WWII Museum has its own parking garage. You can find it at 1024 Magazine Street. There are multiple paid surface lots to be found throughout the area, too.
  • Those visitors who want to attend a showing of Beyond All Boundaries are strongly encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance. The film runs every hour on the hour from 10:00am to 4:00pm.
  • As moving as the film is, it might not be a perfect fit for small children. This is on account of the graphic subject material and special effects: the film features loud explosions, intense lighting effects, and even fog. Also, as part of the film’s 4-D production qualities, the audience’s seats are designed to shake and jerk about during the film.