Made possible though a generous donation from GE Foundation, the What Would You Do? exhibit within the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center is an interactive experience that challenges viewers with complex moral and ethical choices that men and women were forced to make during the WWII era – tough decisions that still have relevance today. The exhibit produces ten unique dilemmas that challenge participants to make difficult wartime decisions using historical footage from the Museum’s archives, voiceovers, and key data. Museum visitors then ‘vote’ on each challenge and learn how their vote compares with what really happened during that time, as well as how other visitors’ decisions compare to their own.
Engaging thousands of participants each year, What Would You Do? is a powerful teaching tool for visitors, teachers and students about the responsibilities and choices citizens must make in a free and democratic society. The National WWII Museum is grateful for GE Foundation’s leadership support of this exhibit and the Road to Victory capital campaign.
As part of the Grand Opening of the US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center, students from every state and the District of Columbia joined a group of World War II veterans in a special procession at the Dedication Ceremony. These 51 students earned their spots by first advancing to the 2012 National History Day Contest and then winning an essay contest asking them to describe their states’ contributions to World War II. Their essays are all available with archival photos at salutetofreedom.org.
While in New Orleans, the students were able to visit the Museum’s exhibits, tour the French Quarter and Garden District and attend the Grand Opening Gala. Every student mentioned that it was meeting their WWII veteran that was the highlight of the trip. Students and veterans exchanged contact information, and the students have been keeping their veterans up to date on college plans, scholarship applications and school projects.
Sixteen of these students advanced to the 2013 National History Day Contest to be held from June 9-13 in College Park, MD. Many of them used their interest in WWII to create projects that emphasized local contributions to the war effort.
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world - 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.