World War Two museum to open Freedom Pavilion

Fri Jan 11, 2013 4:46pm EST
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By Kathy Finn

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) - One of the largest museums to commemorate the events and sacrifices of World War Two will open a new pavilion on Saturday as it races to complete a sprawling $350 million complex before the remaining veterans of the war are gone.

Hundreds of veterans, politicians, business leaders and invited guests are expected to attend the opening ceremony. NBC television newsman Tom Brokaw, the author of the book "The Greatest Generation," will serve as emcee.

Gordon "Nick" Mueller, president and chief executive of the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, said the long-range goal of the museum is to educate younger people about the global war that ended in 1945.

"It has always been our mission to teach younger generations about the significant sacrifices made during the war that helped secure the freedoms they enjoy today," Mueller said.

The U.S. Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center will feature what Mueller calls the "big guns" of the war, including a B-17E Flying Fortress and B-25J Mitchell bomber, suspended in a four-story gallery above a floor display that includes an M4 Sherman tank and other artillery.

Visitors will get close views of the fighter planes and bombers via catwalks on several levels of the pavilion.

Another exhibit, which commemorates the final mission of the USS Tang submarine that sank more than 30 enemy ships before being hit by one of its own torpedoes, will give visitors a simulated submarine combat experience.


An artist's rendering courtesy of the National World War II Museum and supplied to Reuters January 11, 2013 shows the interior of the new Freedom Pavilion in New Orleans, Louisiana. REUTERS/National World War II Museum/Handout