New Orleans, LA (KPEL News) - World War II (WWII) is considered the war that changed the world. Sixteen million Americans served our country during the conflict, including more than a quarter of a million from Louisiana. Just over 100,000 of these brave men and women were still alive in 2023.

The National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, opened on D-Day (6/6) of 2000 and has been designated by Congress as America's official WWII museum. The mission of the museum is to tell the story of the great war:

why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today—so that all generations will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn.

Louisiana is incredibly fortunate to have such a jewel in our state.

Seven buildings and a parking garage sit on the World War II Museum 6-acre campus in downtown New Orleans. Visitors should plan to spend about four hours taking in all the information and seeing relics and replicas from that time in our nation's history.

A visit to the museum allows patrons to see a restored Higgins Boat, the amphibious vessel to which some historians credit America's victory in WWII. Andrew Jackson Higgins owned a boat manufacturing company in New Orleans. Higgins developed the LCVP or Higgins Boat which eliminated the need for conventional ports by carrying and delivering a multitude of troops from sea to land safely. American troops landed on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, after being dropped off by a Higgins Boat, ultimately winning the war. Museumgoers can also see another Higgins-built watercraft, the LCPL, the only one in the world that is fully restored and operational.

Operation Torch
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The National World War II Museum has launched another feature called Voices from the Front that allows visitors to learn about our nation's past using technology of the future. The high-tech, but incredibly personal, interactive experience is made possible by artificial intelligence (AI) and connects museumgoers with veterans to have conversations with more than a dozen people who lived through and fought in the war.

Fred Ramage In Normandy
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You can see what one of the Voices from the Front experiences looks like in the video at the end of this article.

As the greatest generation of Americans dwindles, having the opportunity to have them tell the story from a first-person perspective is invaluable. The AI-driven technology is completely interactive, allowing visitors to ask questions and have authentic conversations with these veterans. WWII Museum President and CEO Stephen Watson explains the incredible value of the attraction:

Preserving the personal accounts of those who served and sacrificed in defense of our freedom during World War II is at the foundation of our mission, and having these men and women share their stories with visitors firsthand has long been a hallmark of the Museum experience. Now, Voices from the Front will take this storytelling to a new level, allowing guests to continue to have their own conversations — through the power of AI — with members of the WWII generation, even long after they have passed.

The unveiling has garnered attention from across the United States, encouraging people to visit Louisiana and have a look for themselves.

The National World War II Museum in New Orleans is open every day from 9 AM - 5 PM, with the exception of major holidays. General admission tickets start at $25, with different packages available.

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Gallery Credit: Conor Walsh

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