Gallagher & Associates' latest exhibit, "Arsenal of Democracy: The Herman and George Brown Salute to the Home Front" at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, explores the impact of war on Americans prior to and during the Second World War. The project was completed with interactive and film partners Bluecadet and Northern Light Productions, respectively.
Beginning with the rise of the Axis powers in Europe and Asia, and the divergent opinions of American citizens on the brink of entering another world war, the exhibit makes clear to visitors that it was not until the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 that the United States became determined to engage enemies on opposite sides of the globe.
"It was the strength and ingenuity of millions of Americans that transformed the United States into the world's Arsenal of Democracy," says Carl Rhodes, senior exhibit designer. "Through the creation of immersive exhibits and evocative media pieces, we sought to explore the impact of the war on Americans, and Americans on the war."
Nine different galleries use a variety of exhibit techniques to weave facts with compelling narratives, exploring how wartime affected Americans and how everyone at home supported the front lines. With nearly 400 original artifacts, as well as oral histories and cutting-edge media and technology, the exhibit examines complex topics such as segregated service, Japanese internment, women in the workforce, and the secret "Manhattan Project," which eventually brought the war to an end.
"It is a challenge exhibiting topics that are difficult to face, many of which still resonate today," Patrick Gallagher, president and owner of G&A, said. "With 'Arsenal of Democracy,' we used state of the art engagement techniques to successfully bring diverse voices to the forefront and show the impact every American had on the outcome of World War II."
From William Nakamura of the all-Japanese 442nd Regimental Combat Team, to the women at home who stretched their rations to feed their families, the exhibit brings the stories of all Americans during World War II back to life - and it does so successfully. "Arsenal of Democracy" adds a new American narrative to the rich history already on display at the National World War II Museum.