The National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Courtesy Voorsanger & Associates.

National World War II Museum



Thornton Tomasetti provided structural engineering services for a multiple-building expansion of the former National D-Day Museum in New Orleans, LA. Visitors of the museum have the ability to view over 80,000 square feet of interactive and interpretive exhibits. To facilitate the experience, visitors are guided through a series of “Pavilions” along a continuous route labeled the “Path to Victory.” This experiential path takes each visitor through the various exhibits as well as transverses the central green space. To assist in providing visual continuity, and weather protection, Thornton Tomasetti designed a floating fabric canopy that serves to unify the individual elements with a large-scale, readily recognizable image for a national museum.

The expanded museum covers all of the theaters and services that played a role in World War II and creates a national center for research on the war. Galleries and exhibits feature macro displays, including tanks, airplanes, jeeps and other vintage vehicles, and a 400-seat Dome theater showcases original documentaries and history-themed films, with a signature film on World War II that employs advanced 4-D format and immersion technologies. The museum’s Center for the Study of the American Spirit is its intellectual core. The three-story, 42,000-square-foot research center houses the museum’s collection of library and archival materials, including one of the nation’s most significant collections of oral histories, rare archival film footage and documents on the American experience in the war. It also draws on the museum’s partnership with the University of New Orleans to monitor the historical integrity of all museum exhibits and supports national efforts to advance the study of military history, diplomacy, volunteerism, leadership and the transformation of America in the war years.

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