I was torn about what to do on July 4th this year. During this time of year, I usually spend it in New Orleans working on photo assignments. But this year I had the day off and was able to enjoy the city. I made the decision to go and experience the WWII museum. I went to remember the brave men and women who fought for the freedoms that we celebrate on Independence Day.
Many commenters online were questioning whether or not to even celebrate the July 4th holiday this year. These feelings were heightened after abortion rights were stripped away from millions of women. This was in the wake of the latest Supreme Court decisions.
Instead of attending parades in their cities, many protesters took to the streets. Across the country, people voiced their opinions on Women’s Rights on the national holiday this year.
WWII Museum in New Orleans
In my travels, I have visited many WWII sites across the world including Pearl Harbor, Berlin, Normandy, Papua New Guinea and Hiroshima. It was interesting to see the entire story of the war in one place at the museum.
Each one of these travel destinations has museums dedicated to the war. As you can imagine the perspective and stories of the war were very different depending on who is curating the story.
The WWII museum has consistently been rated the #1 attraction in New Orleans. It’s a top place to visit from all across the country. Since its opening in 2000 on June 6, over two million people have visited the museum. Congress designated it as the official WWII museum in the U.S.
As you enter the museum you see above the lobby giant planes hanging that represent aircraft used during the war. The museum is divided into sections across five buildings on the site. I would suggest planning a full day for the visit.
Different sections of the museum focus on the key pivotal points in the war. It showed the different offensive campaigns that took place across Europe and Asia. I started my journey into the museum in the D-Day Invasion of Normandy.
Vern and WWII
When I was young and growing up in Tennessee, my Dad had a friend who I met named Vern. He served in WWII and parachuted into Normandy on D-Day.
At the time I didn’t really have an appreciation for what that meant. I did not know how extreme and severe the conditions for the troops were that day. This exhibit made me think of my Dad and his dear friend Vern. I saw his story unfold in photos and videos throughout the hall.
One of the most interesting parts of the museum was a section dedicated to women. It was about females who entered the manufacturing workforce to produce wartime supplies. The exhibit also focused on how manufacturing processes and logistics had to change to support the war effort. As an industrial engineer, I certainly appreciated this segment of the museum.
I made my way through all of the buildings. I saw how different the fighting conditions and strategies were between Europe and the South Pacific. My favorite part of the museum was the recorded personal stories of those who fought told in their own words.
The Real Image of War at the WWII Museum
Through January 3, 2023 there is a special exhibit at the museum. It’s called The Real Image of War: Steichen and Ford in the Pacific. It was a fascinating look at images of the photographers and photos that they took while serving in the military in the South Pacific.
The exhibit probes the supposed objectivity of documentary photography. It also examines the motives of the men behind the camera who created visual records of the war.
Overall the museum was very well put together. It told the stories of the good, the bad and the very ugly sides of the war. I would highly encourage a visit to anyone who is spending time in New Orleans. In the summer, it is a great way to beat the summer heat with an activity for the whole family.
Adult tickets to the visit the museum are $38.50. If you want to come back the next day you can re-enter for $8.