National World War II Museum
National Humanities Medal
WHITE HOUSE CITATION
For its devotion to bringing to life the story of America’s greatest generation and our remarkable victory against the forces of evil. The National World War II Museum has captivated millions of Americans with its compelling exhibits and expansive collections.
In 2003, the Smithsonian-affiliated National World War II Museum in New Orleans was designated America’s official World War II Museum by the United States Congress. Through multimedia exhibits and poignant individual narratives, the museum immerses visitors in the epic struggle to defend Europe and preserve the balance of power in Asia. A hugely popular tourist destination and leading light in the world of historical museums, the National World War II Museum has amassed an impressive collection of military artifacts, including a B-17 bomber and other large aircraft. Founded by World War II historian Stephen Ambrose, the museum opened its first gallery on the anniversary of D-Day in 2000. The museum received 700,000 visitors in 2016, the same year the New York Times declared it home of “what may be the country’s best permanent exhibition.” That exhibition, devoted to D-Day, even touted a New Orleans connection: The flat-bottomed boats that stormed the beaches in Normandy were manufactured in the Big Easy.