WYES to Air WWII Museum Documentary

NEW ORLEANS — A new WYES documentary tells the story of how two University of New Orleans historians collaborated to make the National WWII Museum a reality.

Produced by Marcia Kavanaugh, “Founded on Friendship & Freedom: The National WWII Museum” focuses on the legacy of Dr. Gordon “Nick” Mueller, WWII Museum president and CEO emeritus, and Dr. Stephen Ambrose, the bestselling author and historian who died in 2002. The one-hour documentary will premiere at 7 p.m. central on Monday, July 11 on WYES-TV, wyes.org and on the WYES and PBS apps.

Since its opening on June 6, 2000, the museum has drawn more than nine million visitors and expanded into an internationally recognized attraction.

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WYES said that Ambrose recognized the importance of preserving the recollections and stories documented in the oral histories of WWII veterans, particularly those of the Normandy Invasion. He turned to Mueller to help establish a brick and mortar location to house the artifacts of WWII and keep the experiences of the WWII generation alive for posterity.

“Neither would realize at the time how their idea would expand into one of the world’s most recognized, respected and visited museums,” said a WYES spokesperson. “It singularly captures the profound role New Orleans played in winning the war, as home to Andrew Higgins Industries, manufacturer of the Higgins boats: beach landing craft named after New Orleanian Andrew Higgins.”

The documentary features archival and new interviews with Mueller, Ambrose, Diana Bajoie, Günther Bischof, Gregory O’Brien, Donald “Boysie” Bollinger, Bill Detweiler, Malcolm Ehrhardt, Mary Landrieu, Donald Miller, Frank Stewart, Stephen Watson and Grace Ambrose Zaken.

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