Expanding the Museum

Since opening to the public in 2013, The International Museum of World War II has won universal praise for the quality of its collections, its galleries, its special exhibitions, its educational programming and its publications. All of this has taken place in a building just 10,000 square feet. This is about to change with our plans for a significant expansion.

Why expand?

To serve you better, and to ensure that the experiences, the lessons, and the history of the War may be shared in perpetuity. Currently, spaces serve double and triple duty. We lack classrooms, study rooms and appropriate technology for our dynamic educational programs. A significant amount of the collection is in storage. We have to limit scholarly access to the Archives for lack of secure research areas. The scope of special exhibitions is limited. We have to schedule visits on certain days, especially during the school year, to prevent overcrowding, and there are no visitor amenities.

With our new building, the Museum will become a leader in teaching about the causes and consequences of war. The collections will serve their true purpose of educating future citizens and leaders.

Where will the new museum be?

We are expanding in place. The International Museum of World War II has purchased the property adjacent to its present location at 8 Mercer Road in Natick, MA. All permits have been secured. The new Museum will be built around the present Museum. During construction, the Museum will be open to visitors, students and teachers.

It is beautifully designed and wisely affordable.

The exterior is a handsome reflection of the architecture of the war era. There is a dignified entrance to a contemporary building with 62,500 square feet of space. To the left of the entrance there is a world map on the exterior, and to the far left, the Liberation Tower.

Enter the lobby.

A map of the world during the war is in the center of the lobby. The stairs lead to the Shipley Education Center, the Archives, Research Center and Reading Room. Turn to your left and you enter the exhibition galleries. Turn to your right and you enter the café. Straight ahead is the gift shop and book store. The banner, one of a changing series, reflects the Museum’s extensive collection of propaganda posters. On either side of the staircase are the walls honoring our founding donors.

Look at the Floor Plans

On the first floor.

There will be three times the exhibit space. The layout of the galleries reflects the complexity of the global war, which from an American perspective, after Pearl Harbor, was a two-front war. As now, the galleries and exhibit areas unfold chronologically. At the same time, they capture the simultaneity of multiple events, bringing you as close as possible to the intricacies of this War. For donors, there are compelling naming opportunities. This includes “reflection areas” within the galleries to pause, and to think about the war’s impact, and its lessons.

On the second floor.

At the top of the stairs to the right will be the Shipley Education Center, a Conservation Laboratory and adequate storage. To the left will be a special exhibitions gallery, a Great Hall for events of any size, a secure Archives for the more than 500,000 pieces of research material, largely untapped, a Reading Room, and a Research Center. Meaningful naming opportunities are available.

The Time is Now

Since acquiring the adjacent property and securing the permits, The International Museum of World War II has raised two-thirds of the $26 million required to build our new building.

We plan to break ground in 2018 and to open the doors to the new building in 2019. Interest in World War II is high. A national marketing study estimates that annual visitors to the Museum will exceed 100,000 per year, from the opening.

You Can be a Part of This

  • Support the Capital Campaign
  • Name a gallery
  • Match a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund

Thank you for your support. We look forward to welcoming you to the new Museum.

One of the things you will be able to see that you cannot see now is the Mobile Army Surgical Tent, the most comprehensive and complete World War II era M.A.S.H. unit known to exist. The unit contains thousands of pieces of equipment and instruments including surgical tools, field operating tables, stretchers, a hand operated EKG machine, intravenous equipment, oxygen cylinders, a water purification set, anesthesia machines, instrument sterilizers, field telephones, blood bank canisters, field operating lights, x-ray machines, dressings, splints, crutches, wheelchairs, and numerous other supplies.