• The National WWII Museum Blog
dividing bar

Remembering Tommy Godchaux

Godchaux in Okinawa at age 21, 1945.

Thomas Godchaux in Okinawa at age 21, 1945.

Assistant Director for Curatorial Services Kimberly Guise remembers a friend—WWII veteran and longtime Museum volunteer and supporter Thomas P. Godchaux, who passed away on May 16, 2017, at age 93: 

Making friends at the Museum is incredibly rewarding, but can be difficult knowing that friendships with our WWII veterans are brief as they leave us every day. Mr. Tommy was a fixture at the Museum, having volunteered since 2000, initially leading tours and then guiding visitors through his personal experiences during the war years behind a table in the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center and then the Campaigns Of Courage: European and Pacific Theaters pavilion.

Tommy’s time with the Museum was a gift. He was beloved by his fellow volunteers, by staff members, and by thousands of visitors who came in contact with him. Tommy was passionate about telling stories—stories of his experiences of the war, but also of nearly a century of other encounters. He loved sports—in particular baseball—his family, the symphony, Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, New Orleans, ice tea, oysters, civic engagement, and discussions about books, both fiction and nonfiction. Even after his eyesight failed, he would read with welding goggle-like magnifying glasses—and not just any books, but ones like the 736-pager A History of the World in 100 Objects.

His passion for lifelong learning was inspiring. He always had suggestions for the Museum about exhibits, visitor engagement, and the visitor experience. Tommy loved hearing about trips and adventures, museums visited, people met, meals eaten, and games and concerts seen– and he always had some story to relate himself.  He could be the life of the party, a great conversationalist with an amazing memory of a life well lived. Tommy could relate to almost anything, and I looked forward to sharing stories with him that he might find interesting, which wasn’t difficult.

Tommy graduated from Isidore Newman School in New Orleans in 1942. His family had emigrated from Alsace-Lorraine to Louisiana and established a sugar plantation network and then a chain of department stores, the flagship store on Canal Street in New Orleans. He joined the Army Enlisted Reserve Corps and after one semester at Lehigh University, was called up in February 1943 and sent to Fort Meade, Maryland, for induction. From there, he was sent to Camp Pickett, Virginia for basic training in the Medical Corps. Tommy then elected to join the Army Specialized Training Program (ASTP) and was sent to Virginia Tech for two quarters before the program was canceled. In March 1944, he was then sent to Camp Bowie to join a new company, the 1475th Engineer Maintenance. After training in Granite City, Illinois, the company sailed in June 1944 from Seattle to Ie Shima in the Okinawa Islands, where they spent two months.

On August 14, Tommy and others witnessed a historic event on the airstrip at Ie Shima. A Japanese delegation flying in “Betty” bombers, painted white with green crosses, landed on Ie Shima to transfer to a C-54 to fly to Manila to sign a cease-fire. After witnessing the surrender, he spent time on Okinawa and was there for the great typhoon on October 9, 1945. In November, his unit was sent to Korea. In March 1946, he boarded a troopship for the United States and on March 15, 1946, received his discharge. In 1947, he began a 41-year career in the family’s clothing store business, Godchaux’s, eventually becoming company President.

I’ll remember Mr. Tommy for his service to our country, to the city of New Orleans, and will be forever inspired by his passion for learning, for reading even when eyesight fails, and for listening even when you can’t hear very well at all. I’d love the chance to tell him another story or two about what I’m working on and hear his response.

 

June Classroom of the Month — Get In the Scrap!

Each month the Museum features a standout classroom participating in Get in the Scrap!. Get in the Scrap! is a national service learning project about recycling and energy conservation inspired by the scrapping efforts of students during World War II.  Each featured class does stellar work to make a difference in their school, home, community and even the planet!

For June, we’re showcasing students from Bucher Elementary School in Lancaster, PA,  who are using Get in the Scrap! in  their math class.  The students and their teacher, Mr. Homan, sat down to answer a few questions for us about their work with Get in the Scrap!

The Scraptastics from Bucher Elementary show off their wattle bottle piggy banks. Oink!

The Scraptastics from Bucher Elementary show off their wattle bottle piggy banks. Oink!

Team Name: The Scraptastics

Number of Get in the Scrap! points thus far: 100

How has Get in the Scrap! been a good fit for your curriculum? Please explain: 

“It went along smoothly with our math class. We were able to do some math problems with getinthescrap and discuss recycling and conservation with the students to finish out the year. For example, we had a good discussion about how long the students take showers. We looked up how many liters are used per minute, and then figured out how much water they use in a normal shower. They were surprised!”

What has been your favorite activity? Why?

“The students really loved making the water bottle piggy banks!” Blogger’s note: This is a favorite activity of many participating classrooms. Be creative, reuse materials, and save your change!

This is just one of the many amazing groups participating in the Get in the Scrap! national service learning project. June marks the beginning of summer, so we want to congratulate all students and teachers for their hard work throughout the entire school year. Check out all of their efforts by following the #getinthescrap hashtag on Twitter. Get in the Scrap! will return next fall. Stay tuned for an official launch date!

Post by Chrissy Gregg, Virtual Classroom Coordinator

  • Posted :
  • Post Category :

SciTech Tuesday: The 75th Anniversary of the Fort Stevens Bombardment

Sometimes when I read stories from the homefront during the war I try to imagine what it must have been like. The months right after the attack on Pearl Harbor are compelling. I wrote earlier about the Battle of Los Angeles.

On June 21, 1942 Civil-War era Fort Stevens, near the mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon, was shelled by Japanese forces. The Japanese submarine I-25, with a crew of 97, and armed with a 14 cm deck gun and carrying a seaplane, opened fire. Fort Stevens commander ordered an immediate blackout, and held all fire. This prevented the submarine from accurately targeting the base. Of the seventeen shots, the only damage was to some telephone poles near the base–the remainder landed on a baseball field or a nearby wetland. Just past the battery of Fort Stevens was the northern Kaiser shipyard, which was at that time turning out a Liberty Ship each week.

Nearby training planes called in an A-29 bomber, but the submarine submerged untouched, having dodged the bombs.

This attack on continental US military base–the only one by Axis forces in WWII–led to fear of a West Coast invasion. With contemporary sinkings of passenger and freight ships off the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, it caused fear to mount, and support for the war effort to grow.

The Japanese submarine I-25 was one of the I-15 class submarines produced for the war. It weighed in at 2,600 tons, was 350 ft long, and carried a reconnaissance plane. The plane was carried in a hangar below the deck disassembled. Quickly assembled it could carry 2 men and land on the sea.  Subs of the I-15 class could travel 27 mph on the surface, and 9 mph submerged, with total range of 16,000 miles before it needed refueling. The I-25 was just off the shore of Oahu during the Pearl Harbor attack, after which it patrolled the waters off the US coast near the mouth of the Columbia River.

The night before the attack on Fort Stevens, the I-25 torpedoed and damaged a Canadian freighter loaded with cargo for England off the coast of Washington.  To get up the river past minefields the next day, the crew followed fishing vessels.

On a later mission, I-25 launched its seaplane from off the coast of California, near the Oregon border. The plane flew inland into southern Oregon, and dropped incendiary bombs over forests in an attempt to cause wildfires. Recent rain and quick work by forest service personnel contained the fire quickly. In the process of putting out the fire, they recovered bomb fragments that identified the source of the fire.

I-25 was sunk off the coast of New Hebrides by the USS Ellet on September 3, 1943.

All images are from Wikimedia Commons.

 

Posted by Rob Wallace, STEM Education Coordinator at The National WWII Museum

SciTech Tuesday: The National WWII Museum’s 2017 Robotics Challenge

On Saturday May 13th, 40 teams from Louisiana and Alabama gathered to compete and share their project designs in The Monuments Men–the theme for this year’s robotics challenge.

The robot competition involved students programming their Lego Mindstorms robots to complete 11 tasks. These tasks represented the efforts of the Monuments Men and others in Europe dedicated to saving the cultural heritage of Europe. For example, robots rescued paintings from boxcars, moved the Mona Lisa and a Nike statue from the Louvre, and cleared and posted sentries on damaged monuments.

Teams also designed bridges to carry their robots. This represented the effort to rebuild the bridges of Florence. As the German forces retreated they destroyed the bridges to slow the advancing Allies.

Awards are given annually for the best competitors in the robot competition, and for robot design, and project. In addition, judges pick a Grand Champion. The Grand Champion may or may not win at any of the individual events, but embodies the spirit of the challenge. This year’s Grand Champion team won, in addition to the usual trophy, copies of The Monuments Men, signed by author Robert Edsel. We thank Mr. Edsel for this generous contribution.

  • Grand Champion
    • St Michaels of Crowley, LA
  • Competition
    • 1st place-Tie between SJ Green Charter School of New Orleans and St Pius of Lafayette
    • 2nd place-St Theresa of Gonzales, LA
    • 3rd place-JLT Imaginations of Prairieville, LA
  • Design
    • 1st place-Our Lady of Fatima of Lafayette, LA
    • 2nd place-Kenner Discovery Health Sciences Academy of Kenner, LA
    • 3rd place-St Theresa of Gonzales, LA
  • Project
    • 1st place-Girls Scouts of Gonzales, LA
    • 2nd place-St George’s Episcopal of New Orleans, LA
    • 3rd place-Metairie Park Country Day School of Metairie, LA

 

Next year’s theme will be The Pelican State Goes to War, in honor of the opening of our traveling exhibit of the same name. It will take place May 12th 2018, and registration will open in January.

Thanks to Chevron, who sponsors the event and sends volunteers, and to Fontainebleu High’s RoboDawgs, who volunteer as referrees and table setters.

 

Posted by Rob Wallace, STEM Education Coordinator at The National WWII Museum

May Classroom of the Month — Get In the Scrap!

Each month the Museum will feature a standout classroom participating in Get in the Scrap!. Get in the Scrap! is a national service learning project about recycling and energy conservation, inspired by the scrapping efforts of students during World War II.  Each featured class does stellar work to make a difference in their school, home, community and even the planet!

For May, we’re featuring students from Sovereign Avenue School in Atlantic City, New Jersey, who are using Get in the Scrap! in every discipline.  The students and their teacher, Ms. Williams, sat down to answer a few questions for us about their work with Get in the Scrap!

The Dolphins from Sovereign Avenue School in New Jersey show of their water bottle piggy banks.

The Dolphins from Sovereign Avenue School in New Jersey show of their water bottle piggy banks.

Team Name: The Dolphins

Number of Get in the Scrap! points thus far: 89

How has Get in the Scrap! been a good fit for your curriculum? Please explain: 

“I have incorporated ideas from this program into Reading, Writing, Science, Social Studies, and Math.  The students have learned parts of speech from Scrap Libs, learned about alternative energy sources (and researching and writing a brochure), and even explored their artistic sides by creating piggy banks with recycled water bottles and art scraps.”

What has been your favorite activity? Why?

“When I asked my students about their favorite activity, they were evenly split between the recycled piggy banks and the Scrap Libs.  They all talked about the fun they had working with others, and enjoying the opportunity to be creative.”

This is just one of the many amazing classrooms participating in the Get in the Scrap! national service learning project. You can learn more and sign up your classroom today at getinthescrap.org!

Post by Chrissy Gregg, Virtual Classroom Coordinator

  • Posted :
  • Post Category :

Sci-Tech Tuesday: 75th Anniversary of U-boat attack in Gulf of Mexico

On the morning of May 19, 1942, the Heredia was steaming from Guatemala to New Orleans. Just as it reached the mouth of the Mississippi River with 1,500 tons of bananas and coffee, it was intercepted by German U-boat 506 and hit with three torpedoes. The explosions after the hits destroyed four of the ship’s emergency vessels, and sunk it in three minutes. Sixty two people were on board the ship—36 died and 26 survived. Two lifeboats were launched, and several other people were rescued by shrimp trawlers in the area.

The Heredia, owned by United Fruit, was the second ship sunk by U-boats in the Gulf of Mexico. On May 4, the Norlindo, which was carrying only ballast, was sunk much farther south in the Gulf. From early 1942 into 1943, about 20 U-boats patrolled the Gulf of Mexico, looking especially for oil tankers carrying oil from Louisiana and Texas. In all, the U-boats sent 56 vessels to the bottom of the Gulf. Only one U-boat was sunk by US ships.

The wreck of U-166 lies near the mouth of the Mississippi, sent there by depth charges from PC-566. This patrol boat was accompanying the Robert E. Lee, a passenger ship that was transporting the survivors of other U-boat attacks back to New Orleans. On July 30, 1942, the Robert E. Lee was attacked and sunk by U-166, killing 25 of the 430 on board. PC-566 couldn’t save the ship, but it got vengeance.

Almost a mile of water sits over the remains of U-166, which was discovered during exploration for the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon oil well in 2001. In 2014, a National Geographic expedition led by Robert Ballard sent remotely operated vessels to map and photograph the wreckage.

In 1943, Allied forces achieved advances in radar that shifted the balance of naval warfare, and the Axis and its U-boats never could match them. Casualties fromand tonnage lost toU-boats decreased dramatically from 1943 on.

 

Posted by Rob Wallace, STEM Education Coordinator at The National WWII Museum

 

Jazzing it up

Home Front Friday is a regular series that highlights the can do spirit on the Home Front during World War II and illustrates how that spirit is still alive today!

WWII poster, 1941-1945. Image courtesy of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

WWII poster, 1941-1945. Image courtesy of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Duke Ellington. Count Basie. Cab Calloway. Ella Fitzgerald. Louis Armstrong. Glenn Miller. These are just a few of the infamous jazz musicians from the WWII era, who helped keep the Home Front spirit high with their music.

April is nationally recognized as Jazz Appreciation Month, and to get in the spirit, the blog post this Friday will acknowledge the contributions of jazz to WWII. During the war, music was needed more than ever to bring joy in a dark time to people on the Home Front and soldiers at war. Read on to find out how jazz artists rose to the occasion to make the music happen in difficult times and kept the Home Front spirit burning bright.

The music industry was actually undergoing a war of its own during WWII. In 1942, two of the most prominent musician unions went on strike against all four recording companies in the U.S.. The strike then caused a shortage of music needed for troop morale. Yet, Lieutenant G. Robert Vincent had a solution to the problem. After approval of the U.S. government, he brokered a deal between the unions, recording companies, and the U.S. government. By agreeing to not distribute any records for commercial use, Vincent was able to get the recording companies to agree to record albums for the troops to listen to while at war. More amazingly, he also convinced top-name musicians in the business to record for the albums despite the strike they were involved in. What did these records end up looking like though?

Lt. G. Robert Vincent. Image courtesy of the Stanford University Library.

Lt. G. Robert Vincent. Image courtesy of the Stanford University Library.

Vincent’s efforts resulted in records now known as “V-Discs”, the V standing for Victory. See below some images of V-Discs that were saved due to some soldiers’ craftiness and ability to smuggle the records back home in spite of the U.S. government’s efforts to destroy the records. The government used several means to confiscate the records to keep their agreement with the recording companies. The production plants were forced to destroy the masters of the records, the Provost Marshall confiscated records from returning soldiers, and the FBI even stepped in if necessary to prosecute anyone who tried to commercialize the records.

Duke Ellington and his Orchestra V-Disc. Photo courtesy of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Duke Ellington and his Orchestra V-Disc. Image courtesy of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

V-Disc featuring Count Basie. Image courtesy of Stanford University Library.

V-Disc featuring Count Basie. Image courtesy of Stanford University Library.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Overall, V-Discs provided the troops in WWII with the jazz music as well as other types of music genres they were accustomed to hearing back home before the war started, or as Lt. Vincent put it, “A slice of America” straight from the Home Front. Some of the artists that recorded for V-Discs included big names like Count Basie, Frank Sinatra, Duke Ellington, Fats Waller, Nat King Cole, and Artie Shaw as well as Glen Miller, Jo Stafford, Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, and Billie Holiday.

If you would like to hear some of the great music recorded for the V-Discs, many songs have been compiled on the Internet Archive website. Here’s a video of Duke Ellington performing for a little sample:

For some ways you can experience jazz in a similar experience to the troops or in a modern setting or just learn more about jazz music in general:

  1. Get tickets for the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival
  2. Attend a concert at the historic Preservation Hall in New Orleans
  3. Check out the shows put on at BB’s Stage Door Canteen at the National WWII Museum
  4. Learn all about jazz with the Smithsonian Museum’s jazz archives

Posted by Savannah Bamburg, Education Intern and Lauren Handley, Assistant Director of Education for Public Programs at The National WWII Museum.

SciTech Tuesday: The 75th Anniversary of the Doolittle Raid

Seventy-five years ago today, on April 18, 1942, Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle led a group of 16 B-25s filled with 79 men (in addition to himself) on the first bombing run of Japanese territory in World War II.

Medium bombers had not been launched from a carrier beforecarriers had only 467 feet of takeoff space. The idea for the mission came from Navy Captain Francis Low, who saw planes landing and taking off from an airstrip in Norfolk, Virginia, where a carrier’s outline had been painted on the runway for practice. He noticed that the medium bombers could often take off before crossing the carrier’s outline. Doolittle was put in charge of planning a mission to boost American morale and to damage Japanese confidence.

The B-25 was chosen, even though it was new and untested, because of all the two-engine bombers it was the most capable of taking off from an aircraft carrier. Other planes had longer ranges, but their wingspan was longer and would limit the number of planes that a carrier could fit. The aircraft were modified so that they could complete the 2,400-mile mission with a payload of 2,000 pounds of bombs. The normal range of the B-25 was 1,300 miles. To extend their range they were equipped with extra fuel tanks, most of their defensive guns were removed, and their Norden bomb sights were removed, too.

The 15 planes took off from the carrier Hornet in the western Pacific, flew over Honshu to target military installations in Tokyo and other cities, and then headed for mainland China. The planes each carried three high-explosive bombs and one incendiary bomb. The planes had to take off hours sooner and hundreds of miles farther from Japan than expected when Japanese airplanes were spotted from the Hornet. The Hornet was accompanied by the Enterprise and her escort ships, which comprised Task Force 16 under the command of Admiral William Halsey. Landing in Vladivostok would have made a shorter trip, but the Soviets had signed a neutrality pact with Japan in 1941.

The planes flew over Honshu at about 1,500 feet, receiving little resistance, about six hours after their launch. They dropped several bombs around Tokyo, and others near Yokohama, Nagoya, Kobe, and Osaka. After dropping their bombs, all but one plane turned southwest toward eastern China. One B-25 was low on fuel and headed toward Vladivostok. That plane landed on a base at Vozdvizhenka, where the plane was captured and the crew interned. Aided by a strong tailwind of about 29 miles per hour, the remainder of the B-25s reached the Chinese coast about 13 hours after launch. Without that tailwind, they probably would not have made it to China. Over land, the pilots crash-landed or bailed out. Three men died while bailing out, two perished at sea, and one over land. Three men were executed after capture by the Japanese, and another five were held as POWs. Of those, four survived to the end of the war and were liberated in August 1945. The remainder were rescued, often aided by Chinese, who suffered severe retribution afterward.

Doolittle feared that his loss of all 16 planes would lead to a court-martial. Instead, he was promoted to brigadier general while still in China, and awarded the Medal of Honor by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt upon his return home.

The raid caused little material damage to Japan. However, it did have its intended effects—to boost morale in the United States and to dent Japan’s confidence. It also led to the Japanese military’s determination to hold the central Pacific, leading to the Battle of Midway and the overextension of Japanese naval forces in that direction.

The last surviving Doolittle Raider is retired Lieutenant Colonel Richard Cole, who was Doolittle’s copilot. He is now 101 years old.

Cole’s Museum oral history is here.

All images from the collection of The National WWII Museum.

Learn more here about the Museum’s B-25.

Posted by Rob Wallace, STEM Education Coordinator at The National WWII Museum

Doolittle’s Daring Raiders Lift the Gloom that Descended After Pearl Harbor

 

Lieutenant Colonel   Jimmy Doolittle was  first to take off from the Hornet.

Lieutenant Colonel Jimmy Doolittle was first to take off from the Hornet.

April 18, 2017, marks the 75th anniversary of the Doolittle Raid. Below is an essay by Keith Huxen, PhD, the Museum’s senior director of research and history, that frames the importance of the daring raid to the Allied cause in World War II. The essay appeared in the spring 2017 issue of V-Mail, the Museum’s quarterly newsletter for Members. Visit the links below the essay to explore more about the Doolittle Raid via the Museum’s Digital Collections. Learn more about the benefits of Museum membership here.

In December 1941, Americans were reeling after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and military onslaught across Asia and the Pacific. Emotionally, the nation was in shock, and a deep, consuming anger quickly set in as the people came to comprehend the enormity of the damage in Hawaii. Americans resolved to fight, and thirsted for revenge. However, despite their newfound determination, Americans would find that they would have to travel through a long, dark valley of war.

The emotions of the time were perhaps best encapsulated in the experience of USMC Captain Henry T. Elrod, who flew with VMF-211 to Wake Island only days before the Japanese attacked. Fighting valiantly and repeatedly against the odds in the following days, Elrod distinguished himself on several occasions, once conducting a solo attack against 22 enemy planes and downing two Zeroes, and on another occasion sinking the Japanese destroyer Kisaragi from his fighter aircraft with small-caliber bombs. After all American aircraft were inoperable, Elrod organized beach defenses to meet the enemy. It was during combat with invading Japanese forces on the beach that Elrod was killed on December 23, 1941.  Wake Island surrendered that day.

For his heroism, Elrod would be posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, but his personal trial was symbolic of the desperate situation the Allies faced as 1942 dawned. On Christmas Day 1941, Hong Kong was taken. The Japanese overwhelmed Australian forces on Rabaul, a key base, in late January. In February, the United Kingdom was stunned as Singapore surrendered, and then the Japanese bombed ports in Australia. In March, the Dutch East Indies, with its vital supplies of oil, rubber, and tin, fell to the Japanese.

The biggest American domino in the chain was conquered next. The Japanese had attacked the Philippines as part of their sweeping attacks on December 7–8, 1941. Now, after five months of fighting, Filipino and American troops on the Bataan peninsula surrendered on April 9. A small group of stout American and Filipino forces continued to resist from the island of Corregidor in Manila Bay. Unbeknownst to the American public at the time, however, the captured troops were then subjected to the brutal Bataan Death March.

At last, the first thin ray of light pierced the dark valley of continuous defeat. On April 18, 1942, American air forces under the command of Lieutenant Colonel James Doolittle conducted a surprise raid against Japan. The raid was daringly launched with stripped-down B-25 bombers launched from carriers too far away for the crews to safely return. The bombing damage done in Tokyo and other sites was actually insignificant, but the jolt of finally striking back at the enemy, coupled with the courage of Doolittle’s aviators embarking upon a one-way mission to China (three captured Raiders were eventually executed), spurred a massive psychological lift for Americans weary of bad news.

Doolittle’s Raiders provided a flicker of hope for the future, but the valley of war still had dark pathways ahead. On May 6, 1942, Corregidor fell to the Japanese, sealing Allied defeat in the Philippines for the time being (guerrilla groups would continue to fight on throughout the war).

With many battleships sunk in Pearl Harbor, the US Navy was forced to rely upon submarines and aircraft carriers in a new naval warfare. Beginning the day following Corregidor’s fall, on May 7–8, 1942, the US Navy and Imperial Japanese Navy fought the Battle of Coral Sea. It was indecisive in that both sides scored against each other’s all-important assets—the United States sank the Japanese light carrier Shoho but lost its own carrier Lexington—in the first battle in naval history in which the fleets did not sight each other and combat was conducted solely through the air.

Halfway through 1942, the United States was still without a significant victory on the battlefield, and Americans were wondering how long this situation could be endured. Our enemies were growing stronger every day. They could not know it at the time, but the terrain of the dark valley of war was about to take a dramatically different shape when US forces next engaged the enemy off a small island in the Pacific, a place called Midway.

Links:

Watch eyewitness accounts of the Doolittle Raid from the Museum’s collection of oral histories here.

Watch a panel discussion about the raid from the Museum’s 2011 International Conference on World War II here.

A multimedia journey into the post-Pearl Harbor darkness, with videos, photos, and Museum artifacts, is here.

 

Next Stop, Nationals!

National QualifiersThis past Saturday, April 8, over 200 middle and high school students from across Louisiana visited The National WWII Museum to compete and take part in the annual Louisiana National History Day State Contest.  National History Day is a national student research contest in which students, working as either individuals or in groups, create projects relating to an annual theme which are evaluated and critiqued at school and regional level contests. This year’s contest theme was “Taking A Stand In History,” with students completing projects on figures ranging from Susan B. Anthony to Whitney Houston.

Having already advanced from one of five regional contests in Monroe, Baton Rouge, Shreveport, or New Orleans, these students and their projects represented the best student work Louisiana had to offer. Competition was fierce and exciting throughout the day with over 120 projects in 18 different categories seeking an opportunity to advance to the National History Day National Contest in Washington, DC.  The judges deliberated throughout the day and ultimately selected 68 middle and high school students to represent Louisiana at the National Contest the week of June 11–15, 2017.

Also awarded were three full scholarships for the Museum’s Normandy Academy Student Travel Program, a 12-day journey that allows students to follow in the footsteps of the Greatest Generation across the beaches and battlefields of northern France.

The National WWII Museum is proud to serve as the state sponsor for National History Day in Louisiana and we are expecting great things from this year’s student delegation. Congratulations to all the winners and to all the students and teachers who participated!   

 

This post by Collin Makamson, Student Programs Coordinator @ The National WWII Museum