National WWII Museum receives $20 million individual donation

Published: Mar. 24, 2015 at 3:54 PM CDT
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A rendering of the proposed 'Canopy of Peace'
A rendering of the proposed 'Canopy of Peace'

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The National WWII Museum received an individual gift of $20 million from longtime advocate and former Board Chairman Boysie Bollinger.

Ranking among the top donations in the country to a non-profit organization or museum, this is the largest private gift ever received by the museum.

The $20 million donation will be used to add an architectural piece to the museum's New Orleans campus, the Canopy of Peace, which Bollinger calls "the finishing touch" to the museum's expansion.

The canopy is meant to symbolize the hope and promise unleashed by the end of World War II hostilities. Commanding attention on the New Orleans skyline, the 150-foot-tall structure will also unify the museum's campus in the enduring spirit of the wartime slogan, "We're all in this together!"

A portion of the donation will also go into the museum endowment, a step Bollinger noted as significant to the institution's future. The endowment guarantees the museum will always have a steady source of funds to support the growing campus.

Additionally, a reference to Bollinger's name will go on the museum's existing Stage Door Canteen, a 1940s-style entertainment space that serves as a living exhibit for music of the war era. The space will now be called BB's Stage Door Canteen. "BB is what my grandkids call me," said Bollinger. Noting that he doesn't want his name in lights, Bollinger adds, "Some people will never know that's me, but those who are important to me will know. It's very personal."

Featuring a top piece stretching 448 feet by 126 feet, the Canopy of Peace is scheduled for completion in 2017.

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