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The National WWII Museum: A Modern Experience of the Historical

by acenh (01/18/08).
Photographs from the WWII European Front Exhibit
Recreation of an American Army Bunkhouse
LCVP; Landing Craft Vehicle, Personnel

WWII Museum: European Front Exhibit
945 Magazine, New Orleans LA
Adult Admission $14
Student Admission $8
Child $6

Why is the National WWII museum in New Orleans? 92% of vehicles used during WWII came from Higgins Industries in New Orleans. Furthermore, Andrew Higgins designed the Landing Craft Vehicle, Personnel (LCVP) in the 1930’s. He added a ramp in 1941, creating the boats that were able to run on shore during D-Day. President Eisenhower said, “Andrew Higgins is the man who won the war for us. Without Higgins designed boats that could land over open beaches the whole strategy of the war would have to be rethought.” Considering the influence Higgins had on the strategy of the war, New Orleans is a perfect place for the WWII Museum. Higgins’s influence is also seen in the organization of the exhibit itself, for it is arranged by date or by each strategic move of the Allies. Within these different sections are mixed personnel stories and enlarged pictures of the war and those who fought in it.

The Museum is a place where the images and sounds of WWII meet modern technology to tell the stories of both sides of the conflict. The first display seen has the different flags of the countries involved in WWII in its background, sized for the amount of servicemen and women contributed to the war effort. In front stood small model soldiers, each representing a certain percentage of contributed servicemen and women. This display brings a statistic to life. Using charts, enlarged photographs, recreations utilizing WWII memorabilia, models, short films and multimedia presentations the voices of a generation can be heard and one of the most important events in modern history is explained to all generations. The museum has collected numerous oral histories, news and radio clips to help tell this story. By having individuals explain their experiences different ages can sympathize with and come to a better understanding of life during WWII.

There are many ways in which the European Front exhibit illustrates the events of WWII. A great aspect of the Museum is short multimedia presentations projected on to an oval floor screen. Both presentations visually and orally explain the different military movements during the war and at D-Day. Another great section of the exhibit is on propaganda in Allied nations. There is a diverse group of posters displayed including some vilifying the Germans, a few including Uncle Sam sternly calling Americans to sacrifice, and others complimenting the heroics of Allied soldiers. These posters reflect the serious side and dramatized side of war. The exhibit also includes many enlarged historical photographs; as one looks on the faces of the past, they are reminded of the great sacrifices suffered by both sides during WWII. The purpose of the WWII Museum is to educate by mixing historical objects with technology. The European Front Exhibit at the WWII Museum takes you on a journey through the past in order to understand how we became the nation we are today.

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