Perhaps once thought too narrowly focused, this museum was originally called the “National D-Day Museum” and concentrated primarily on events surrounding the famed D-Day offensive by Allied forces at the end of World War II.
The star of this museum was the Higgins Boat – the iconic amphibious warfare boat used to deliver Allied troops onto the beaches of Normandy (and subsequently featured in any number of Hollywood productions). The Higgins Boat was designed and built in New Orleans, and thus the city became the chosen location for the museum. The museum got its current name in 2006 after an act of Congress two years prior officially designated the museum as “America’s National World War II Museum,” formalized an affiliation with the Smithsonian, and slightly widened its scope.
Today the museum retains its focus on military history, skipping ahead two years into the war to focus exclusively on the United States’ involvement via immersive, high-production exhibitions with bombastic titles including Arsenal of Democracy and Campaigns of Courage (housed in buildings with names like US Freedom Pavilion and Hall of Democracy). Military history enthusiasts will enjoy the focus on strategy, troop movement, and weaponry. Other history buffs might bristle at abbreviated timelines and significant omissions from the American experience.
Museum highlights include a multi-level observation deck that gives visitors unique views of restored airplanes hanging from the ceiling, and a high-tech, star-studded 4D film “Beyond All Boundaries” playing in the Victory Theater.
Know Before You Go
It's open daily from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It's closed Mardi Gras Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, and Christmas Day. Admission is $28