WWII National Museum, New Orleans, LA

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WWII National Museum, New Orleans, LA

Post  Pat on Thu May 17, 2012 6:56 am



During the traditional Spring Break in March 2012, I took the opportunity of partying being in New Orleans to visit the National WWII Museum. By clicking on the link below, you access the entire photo album. I apologize for the quality of some pictures, shooting in a museum is always tricky because of glass windows and shity lighting.

http://travel.webshots.com/album/582782183vIQcmm

The entrance hall is the first place you see when you enter the museum. Many WWII vehicles that were used for air, land and sea war are presented. The following vehicles can be seen : Halftrack, 37 mm AT gun, a late version M3 tank, a 352 close cab GMC and a lovely early jeep give an overview of land vehicles.


Early Jeep

A few planes are attached to the ceiling, namely a Spitfire (probably a model ), a C47(probably a model too) and a PTO plane (I forgot what was the type).


Spitfire

On one side of the hall are displayed two boats : a Higgins boat and an early Higgins boat. What I understood is that in this early boat (that was designed from a civilian boat), troops would jump from the sides when the boat came ashore. It was later that the front access door was added for more convenience and to give the ability to embark/disembark vehicles. The early types were converted to patrol boats and support boats.


Higgins boat


Early Higgins boat

A sign in the usual Higgins boat explains why the museum was settled in New Orleans. Originally, the museum was built to present only the Invasion in Normandy, hence its first name : National D-Day Museum. Since most of the Higgins boats were built in workshops in New Orleans and since these boats have undoubtedly contributed to the success of all the landings that took place in WWII, the museum was located in New Orleans. In 2003, the museum was renamed National WWII Museum and presents all the war.

Price to get in was fair ($12 for the museum + the 4D movie) which is fair. Globally, the museum is split in several rooms which depict a particular part of the war (Home Front, PTO, Atlantic Wall, DDay landings, airborne operations, etc...).

The first room that the visitors sees is about the economy during the war. Facts are given to show how the US switched from peace economy to war economy. One interesting fact is shown below. It concerns what can be done by recycling waste.


Recycling

Several crates are reproduced (Rations, Hershey bar crates (Paul Wink ). Below is a picture of a stack of penicillin crates. I've taken this pic because these crates didn't look real to me. Ben you can probably tell us if they are accurate !


Penicillin crates

Next, a display shows original Higgins boat blueprints, pictures of the boats and their use and many facts about them. Three models show the evolution of the design from the civilian model (foreground) to the last model (background) with the first model in between.


Higgins models

The next rooms emphasize the DDay landings in Normandy. The first room displays a reproduction of the top floor of a German bunker with a telemeter. The second room shows the equipment used by both American and German troops (weaponry, uniform, gear, etc...). The only comment I'll do is that not much is said about all the other nationalities that took part in the landings (British, Canadian, French, etc...). I haven't seen any notable mistakes in the mannequins. Below is a funny picture of period picture.


Tent in the UK.


DDay mannequin

Another room presents the airborne operation prior landings on June 6th, 1944. A scene where a crashed glider with a jeep can be seen. In a glass frame can be seen an un-reinforced M42 jump jacket as well as a silk map that would be found in the escape kit each trooper was issued. An airborne second type first aid can also be seen.


M42

The exhibit then focuses on the landings. Most interesting are an original map of Utah Beach which appears to be extraordinary accurate. Another thing is a hand drawn map : I think in the pre-jump/pre-landings we do, we could add a few of these maps to improve our impressions. I've also taken a pic of the recon pictures to serve as reference in case we want to do some kind of intelligence briefing before operations.


Hand drawn map

Some interesting testimonies can be read, specially one about Gen. Roosevelt who landed with the first wave on Utah. It says (written white bloc note) : “all types of obstacles in & out the water. Picked up six rds of 81 mm AMM. On the way, it seemed as though we would never reach sea wall. Men being blown up & hit all around me, you could hear them scream, it was horrible. Finally hit seawall, stopped to get a blow and bearing,Gen. Roosevelt walking around telling everyone to clear beach or they would get killed.”

An attempt to recreate a hedgerow in Normandy was made by museum staff but I don't think they've been to Normandy to see how they really look like as the results looks like a tropical bush rather than a Normand hedgerow. Some German gun barrels point out from the hedgerow.


Hedgerow.

A quick part is done about the France campaign, the Bulge and the final rush for Germany. Not much was said about the MTO.

Another part of of the museum explains the war in the PTO. A large lit map shows where and how the war developed in this part of the world during the war. As for the ETO, many displays show uniforms and weapons(I've taken many pics of the M2 Flame thrower in case someone wants to build one) and present facts about the PTO. Below is a pick showing some Seabees engineers with unusual equipment working on building an airfield in the Pacific.


Seabees


US PTO Uniform

My personal thoughts about the museum is that it is definitely oriented for all public but is still a interesting place to visit for us, living historians. It shows quality pieces and what is presents is clearly and accurately explained. However, the museum staff may have narrowed its vision about the war and some important moments of the war are maybe not stressed enough. Perhaps the staff only wanted to show the most glorious and “hollywoodish” part of the war. This impression I had was later confirmed by the 4D movie that I saw after the visit.

For a couple of bucks, one can go see a 4D movie “Beyond all Boundaries“ about the war from Dec 1941 to the victory over Japan. Since cameras weren't allowed, I'll just briefly describe what it is. The movie starts on the declaration of war speech done by Roosevelt at the beginning of war. Then, a first person narrator talks about their life (woman in workshops, B17 gunner, paratrooper, marine, etc...) during the various phases of the war. I recall these speeches were made from actual testimonies of persons who lives during the war. Several models appear in front of the screen and wind and fake snow (for the Bulge) bring up the 3rd and 4th dimension. The movie delivers at the end a very patriotic message about the human costs of freedom. Forgot to add that it was produced by Tom Hanks to give you an idea the patriotism involved in this movie (the other allied nations are barely mentionned). Below is a link to a trailer of the movie.

http://www.nationalww2museum.org/victory-theater/index.html

Hope you enjoyed this report. Feel free to ask me any questions or if you want additional pics (I posted the best ones but I also have some higher resolution pics about the most interesting parts of the museum/reference pics).

T/5 Patrick ALEXANDRE

PS : Other photo albums about my Spring Break journey (around 2,800 miles in a week) are available on the same pic server !

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Re: WWII National Museum, New Orleans, LA

Post  samharris45 on Thu May 17, 2012 7:17 am

I like it Pat good report!
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Re: WWII National Museum, New Orleans, LA

Post  Gina_Costina on Thu May 17, 2012 9:55 am

Excellent Pat- another article that I'll include for posterity in issue 4!

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Re: WWII National Museum, New Orleans, LA

Post  Dantheman on Thu May 17, 2012 12:05 pm

Nice one Pat!

Look forward to hearing the report on the partying in New Orleans too! drunken lol!


Dan

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Re: WWII National Museum, New Orleans, LA

Post  Gina_Costina on Thu May 17, 2012 12:14 pm

Dantheman wrote:Nice one Pat!

Look forward to hearing the report on the partying in New Orleans too! drunken lol!


Dan

Indeed. I take it you went down Bourbon Street Pat?? Catfish gumbo?

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Re: WWII National Museum, New Orleans, LA

Post  murph on Thu May 17, 2012 5:10 pm

Great report Pat, interesting to see and read. Thanks for sharing.

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Re: WWII National Museum, New Orleans, LA

Post  Guest on Thu May 17, 2012 7:25 pm

Indeed, thanks for sharing Pat. I have to say those Penicillin Crates are a complete fantasy piece, though! Looks like they have some very interesting stuff in the museum - I'm sure Peter would like to see the Higgins Boats!

Cheers,
Ben.

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Re: WWII National Museum, New Orleans, LA

Post  Guest on Thu May 17, 2012 7:57 pm

Interesting report and photo's Pat, thanks for sharing.

Cheers,
Chris.

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Re: WWII National Museum, New Orleans, LA

Post  Tom Sainter on Thu May 17, 2012 8:58 pm

Great report and pics mate, thanks for putting it together. Maybe one day I'll get to take a visit myself.

Regards
Tom
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Re: WWII National Museum, New Orleans, LA

Post  Pat on Mon May 21, 2012 12:20 am

I apologize but there is officially no photographic evidence that I have been drinking alcoholic beverages Wink Laughing Laughing Rolling Eyes Rolling Eyes so there won't be any report about booze consumption Wink Wink . Indeed New Orleans is a great place to party (and specially as Paul said, Bourbon street is the place to be both for drinks and chow !). There are a few pics on this street in my album : you'll see below that some places are specialized in drinks Wink.






Cheers

PX Pat
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Re: WWII National Museum, New Orleans, LA

Post  Dantheman on Mon May 21, 2012 11:06 am

Pat wrote: Indeed New Orleans is a great place to party (and specially as Paul said, Bourbon street is the place to be both for drinks and chow !). There are a few pics on this street in my album : you'll see below that some places are specialized in drinks Wink.



Cheers

PX Pat

NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

affraid affraid affraid affraid affraid affraid affraid

I most certainly will not be going anywhere near there for my holidays!!!!!!!!!!!


Dan Wink

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Re: WWII National Museum, New Orleans, LA

Post  Guest on Mon May 21, 2012 11:10 am

Maybe some of this will be in order for next season:
http://www.drinksdirect.co.uk/acatalog/Hapsburg_Premium_Reserve_Absinthe.html

89.9% Shocked

Cheers,
Ben.

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Re: WWII National Museum, New Orleans, LA

Post  Dantheman on Mon May 21, 2012 11:31 am

BenM wrote:Maybe some of this will be in order for next season:
http://www.drinksdirect.co.uk/acatalog/Hapsburg_Premium_Reserve_Absinthe.html

89.9% Shocked

Cheers,
Ben.

Holy sh!t!!!

I think if anyone were to polish that off then at least their next of kin wouldn't have to worry about cremation or funeral costs as they would probably self-combust!!! pale



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Re: WWII National Museum, New Orleans, LA

Post  Andy "Dixie" Dean on Mon May 21, 2012 11:53 am

Dan, that's your birthday present sorted! No

Dixie
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Re: WWII National Museum, New Orleans, LA

Post  murph on Mon May 21, 2012 5:48 pm

I'm sticking to Calvados, I don't like the sound of this stuff Very Happy

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Re: WWII National Museum, New Orleans, LA

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