FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: December 17, 2014
Contact: Anne Strong
Telephone: (301) 279-9697
History Associates Develops Content for Dramatic New Exhibit at the National WWII Museum
How do you bring the enormity of World War II into context for future generations? The newest exhibit pavilion at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, is seeking to do just that.
The 32,000-square-foot Campaigns of Courage: European and Pacific Theaters pavilion opened Saturday, December 13, with the Road to Berlin: European Theater Galleries exhibit—focusing on America’s role in the campaign to defeat Nazi Germany, from the landings in North Africa through the surrender of German forces in May 1945. The new exhibits tell the story through artifacts, oral histories, technology, and immersive environments. History Associates served on the content development team, working closely with exhibit designers Gallagher & Associates and subject matter experts at the Museum to research the storylines and locate compelling images that bring the stories to life.
Given the scale of American involvement in the war—over 16 million men and women served during the conflict, and more than 400,000 died—it’s easy for Museum visitors to become numbed by the statistics. In developing the new exhibits, the project team looked for ways to bring the impact of the war to visitors on a personal level. Key events are highlighted through the real-life stories of those who participated in them. Visitors can engage with a rich variety of multimedia experiences that allow them to hear first-hand accounts of World War II veterans, witness what it was like to fight in the hills of Italy or to serve on the crew of a B-17 bomber, and follow the journeys of selected servicemen and women who joined the long campaign to liberate Europe from Nazi control.
The history of World War II in Europe has been extensively documented, but finding and authenticating these stories of individual participants still posed challenges. The project team reviewed records from a wide variety of sources to locate the personal details and images that helped bring these stories to life. Stories like Ellen Ainsworth, a nurse killed at Anzio; Julian Cook, a paratrooper who led an assault during Operation Market Garden; or David Pergrin, a U.S. Army engineer whose unit constructed a bridge at Remagen while under enemy fire.
History Associates obtained images from more than 25 different repositories, including the National Archives, the Imperial War Museum in London, and the Bundesarchiv in Germany. Research also took them to sources that seem less obvious, such as the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library—one exhibit panel illustrates how Vonnegut drew upon his prisoner of war experience when writing Slaughterhouse-Five.
Historians conducted detailed research to provide information on key events, individuals, units, themes, and other background information that was used to develop text for over 100 panels throughout the exhibit. To help visitors understand the global nature of the conflict that saw American troops fighting across the breadth of Europe and North Africa, History Associates also created custom maps used to illustrate key battles and campaigns throughout the war. Drawing from a variety of sources, including US Army tactical maps and Strategic Bombing Survey reports, the maps help immerse visitors into the World War II era and convey the magnitude of the long fight to end Nazi tyranny.
Road to Berlin: European Theater Galleries is the first of two exhibits planned for the new pavilion. The other exhibit, Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries, is slated to open next year.
About The National WWII Museum
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National WWII Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who served on the battlefront and the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-528-1944 or visit www.nationalww2museum.org. Follow them on Twitter at WWII museum or on Facebook.
About History Associates
For more than thirty years the historians and archivists at History Associates have demonstrated that history is valuable in the market as well as the marketplace of ideas. They provide professional corporate histories, exhibit content, interpretive planning, historical research, archival services, and collections management services to clients throughout the United States and around the world. History Associates strives to be The Best Company in History®, serving corporate, government, legal, and nonprofit clients from its headquarters in Rockville, Maryland. For more information, call (301) 279-9697 or visit www.historyassociates.com.