During its tribute to servicemembers on Veterans Day, The National WWII Museum announced a groundbreaking future addition to its campus: Expressions of America, a first-of-its-kind nighttime sound and light experience celebrating the power of individual Americans to impact the world around them during a time of monumental conflict.
Available exclusively at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans starting on Veterans Day 2022, Expressions of America will immerse audiences in written words, songs and personal reflections of the everyday men and women who served our country in every way imaginable during World War II. Generously presented by the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation, Expressions of America will uniquely combine the latest outdoor projection technology with wartime letters and oral histories from the Museum’s collection to allow audiences to experience the stories of the WWII generation like never before.
“Expressions of America will dramatically transform how today’s visitors connect to the men and women who served during World War II,” said Stephen J. Watson, Museum President & CEO. “This new experience will leverage the Museum’s extensive collection of personal accounts from the war as well as the distinct architecture of our campus to advance our educational mission in a new and exciting way. We are deeply grateful to the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation for sharing our vision and investing in such an innovative experience that will place audiences in the center of historical moments alongside individuals just like them who helped shape the world we live in today.”
Hosted by actor and veterans advocate Gary Sinise, Expressions of America will bring together elements of a nighttime spectacular, art installation and musical celebration. Centered under the Bollinger Canopy of Peace, a soaring architectural centerpiece spanning the entire New Orleans campus, Expressions of America will transform the Col. Battle Barksdale Parade Ground into a towering outdoor theater, celebrating the endurance of the American spirit. Through architectural projection mapping technology, living murals will completely blanket the facades of the Museum’s exhibit halls—including Campaigns of Courage, US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center and the upcoming Liberation Pavilion. Stories will appear to come to life, making visitors feel immersed in the action and surrounding them with realistic scenes projected as high as 90 feet tall. Archival photographs and footage from the Museum’s collection will be enriched with vivid original imagery and a moving soundscape to tell a story that is epic yet personal.
Drawing on the Museum’s extensive archival collection, particularly wartime correspondence and personal accounts, Expressions of America will be comprised of a collection of stories that will introduce visitors to soldiers, nurses, chaplains, factory workers, artists, entertainers and supportive loved ones on the Home Front who banded together and each contributed their own meaningful acts of sacrifice, ingenuity, bravery and love to preserve freedom. All of the words in the show will come directly from the men and women of the WWII generation, and the production’s original musical score will feature 1940s-era songs performed by New Orleans’s legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band. Expressions of America will send a powerful message about the tremendous impact that individual people—such as US Army nurse Major Birdie Daigle, Staff Sergeant Edward A. Carter Jr., renowned entertainer Bob Hope and others—can have in times of great conflict.
“I know my father would be so honored not only to be featured in such an innovative production but also for the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation to be supporting an effort that will inspire the same appreciation that he had for all those who served in World War II and beyond,” said Linda Hope, Bob’s daughter and Chair/CEO of the Bob & Dolores Hope Foundation. “We are excited to partner with the Museum to highlight the stories of the WWII generation and inspire audiences today to share their own gifts and talents for the greater good.”
To develop this multimedia production, the Museum has once again partnered with Mousetrappe, an internationally acclaimed leader in designing and producing immersive media-based shows and experiences for museums, theme parks, expos and cultural attractions, including their previous work with The Hettema Group on the Museum’s Beyond All Boundaries 4D cinematic experience. Mousetrappe will collaborate with Solomon Group—an award-winning entertainment design and production firm that has fabricated multimedia environments for various clients, including the Museum’s permanent exhibits—to ensure that Expressions of America is at the forefront of multimedia production.
“Expressions of America will be among the most innovative visitor experiences in America,” said Daren Ulmer, Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Mousetrappe. “Few museums in the United States have taken advantage of storytelling in this magnitude and medium. Expressions of America will undoubtedly be a signature nighttime offering for visitors of New Orleans. Mousetrappe is honored to work on such an epic show that connects on a very individual and personal level.”
Following its opening on November 11, 2022, Expressions of America will become a permanent nighttime attraction at the Museum, with several ticketed showings per week. Upon arrival and before the 20-minute sound and light show begins, visitors will be fully immersed in 1940s America through a pre-show experience featuring live entertainment, new custom exhibits, food and beverage offerings and memorable interactions. A celebratory post-show experience will also take place on the Col. Battle Barksdale Parade Ground. Ticket pre-sales will open to the public in early fall 2022. For more information on Expressions of America, visit expressionsofamerica.org.