War museums look to tell more on Asia
Two World War II museums plan to cooperate more on educating younger generations about the war, including the fiercely contested battles in China, Burma and India.
Gordon Mueller, CEO and president of The National WWII Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana, took a brief tour of the San Francisco-based WWII Pacific War Memorial Hall on Thursday, meeting his counterpart Florence Fang.
The two discussed possible trips to Asia, including to Japan and China, to better understand war-related history there, and future teamwork on finding the remains of American soldiers who fought for China during World War II.
Fang introduced her artifacts on exhibit in a white three-story building on Sacramento Street, where the museum is located. It used to house the Chinese Daily Post, a publication established in 1927.
The building was later converted to a center for overseas Chinese to gather and rally support for their homeland during the Japanese invasion of China in 1931. The building got its new purpose a year ago, telling stories about how Chinese people suffered from the Japanese Army and fought back.
Mueller said his museum, founded in 2000 originally as the D-Day Museum, gradually expanded its coverage, mostly of the American experience in the war, to include other chapters, such as the heroic deeds taking place in China, Burma and India. It has been designated by the US Congress as the official national museum of World War II.
“I’m a historian, an educator,” said Mueller. “When we are thinking, we are saving the history, we are making history.”
We’ve received comments and donations from visitors worldwide; they thank our efforts.” Florence Fang, WWII Pacific War Memorial founder
Visitors to war-themed museums will understand the price of freedom and be inspired by what they learn, said Mueller, adding that the major tourist destination in New Orleans is drawing 700,000 patrons worldwide at an average age younger than those visiting New Orleans.
Earlier this month, the museum learned it was ranked No. 4 in the US in the 2016 TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice awards for museums, and No. 11 in the world.
Fang said the San Francisco museum has witnessed stable growth in visitors.
“We’ve received comments and donations from visitors worldwide; they thank our efforts, encourage us to continue,” said the 81-year-old Fang. “We are so touched, and believe we are doing the right thing.”