Under a brilliant blue sky Monday afternoon, a gathering of trustees, donors, fans, politicians and veterans officially broke ground for a major expansion of the National World War II Museum on Andrew Higgins Drive, across the street from the original location.
The 2-square-block site, decked out in red, white and blue balloons, held about 200 seats for guests, along with a World War II Jeep, a PT boat, a half-track and a Sherman tank. A flyover by four F-17 planes in formation kicked off the ceremony, which included music by a U.S. Navy band, a trooping of colors by the Washington Artillery and a burst of confetti.
Set to be completed by 2015, the $300 million expansion will include a campus of six new buildings covering 5.7 acres bounded by Magazine Street, Andrew Higgins Drive, Calliope Street and the Camp Street down-ramp of the Crescent City Connection. The ambitious expansion will quadruple the size of the original museum, which opened in 2000.