Yesterday I had the pleasure of visiting the National World War II Museum in New Orleans for work. It’s a terrific museum, and they have some really exciting plans for future exhibits – if you can make the trip, I highly recommend going. I especially recommend seeing the film Beyond All Boundaries while you’re there; it’s a production that you truly experience rather than simply watch.
However, two conversations were also had that reconfirmed in my mind why museums like this play such an important role in our culture. The first came in the form of a talk about the museum’s founding. When the museum opened, many were skeptical whether there would be a draw to come to a museum about WWII. The only people they thought would come to see such exhibits were veterans, and WWII veterans are becoming fewer and fewer. The second came in a chat with a docent, who revealed that a guest had once said that he was a pacifist and that he thought the museum was “sick” and “glorified war.”