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Helping Visitors Understand D-Day

American Military Cemetery in Normandy, France

When the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) wanted to construct a new visitor center at the American Military Cemetery in Normandy, France, they needed a team of professionals to help commemorate the competence, courage, and sacrifice of the men and women laid to rest at the cemetery.

History Associates collaborated with the design firm Gallagher & Associates and the Center for Military History to develop exhibits that provide an overview of the D-Day invasion and highlight the personal experiences of Allied soldiers, sailors, and airmen during one of the key turning points of World War II.

The Stories Behind the Headstones

History Associates’ researchers collected personal accounts, letters, photographs, and other materials from archives in the United States, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom. They also worked with next-of-kin to learn more about the personal experiences of some of those buried in the cemetery. The company’s historians drafted an exhibit script that helps one million visitors per year understand and appreciate the sacrifices made by the 9,387 Americans buried at the site. As the ABMC reported, “The cemetery has always had this extremely powerful emotional component. What was lacking was a story to go with the names written on the headstones.”

Work for the Normandy American Cemetery was well received, and History Associates went on to work for the ABMC on six additional World War I and World War II commemorative sites throughout Europe.

For more information on the American Battle Monuments Commission and the Normandy American Cemetery Visitor Center, see

For help with your visitor center project, call us at (301) 279-9697 or contact History Associates.

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