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College
(Age 18 and older, high school diploma required)
June 13-24, 2017Buy Now

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June 19-30, 2017Buy Now

Tour Itinerary

Day 1: The National WWII Museum in New Orleans

After arriving, students spend their first evening in New Orleans at the Museum, taking in the exclusive 4D experience, Beyond All Boundaries, and enjoying a welcome dinner.

New Orleans Hotel (D)

Beyond All Boundaries, the 4D experience at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans

Day 2: The National WWII Museum in New Orleans

After breakfast at the hotel, students depart for a full day of touring at the Museum. On tap: a viewing of Decision to Go; a discussion on Eisenhower—his humble beginnings, his preparation, his selection as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force, and his ability to delegate and put his men in positions to succeed; The Youth of America and the Impact of World War II, an exploration activity showcasing the concept of total war and the contributions of students, many of whom joined the service immediately following their senior year of high school; a curator-led tour of the new Arsenal of Democracy galleries; and a group dinner at the Museum.

New Orleans Hotel (B, L, D)

The National WWII Museum Macroartifacts

Day 3: The National WWII Museum in New Orleans

Another full day at the Museum, as students embark on the Museum’s Behind the Lines tour, which goes inside the vault, the document collection, and Kushner Restoration Pavilion. Students explore our extensive collection and handle artifacts not on view to the general public in the vault, and climb inside a Sherman tank. After lunch, students learn critical details of the German military during the war, then tour the expansive Campaigns of Courage pavilion, which houses two of the Museum’s most impressive exhibits: the Duchossois Family Road to Berlin: European Theater Galleries and the Richard C. Adkerson & Freeport McMoRan Foundation Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries. Students then depart the Museum for a walking tour of the French Quarter and dinner at Café Maspero.

New Orleans Hotel (B, L, D)

Student at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans

Day 4: New Orleans to France

Students depart from New Orleans for the overnight flight to Charles De Gaulle Airport in Paris.

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Soldiers at the Eiffel Tower in Paris

Day 5: Normandy Tour

After a long day of traveling, students arrive in Paris and greet the tour guides awaiting them. A bus tour of Paris follows, including the most iconic sites: the Arc de Triomphe, Trocadero, Eiffel Tower, Champs-Elysees, and Notre Dame. Lunch is near the Eiffel Tower before departing for Bayeux for check-in at Hotel Le Bayeux. A group dinner at a local restaurant brings the evening to a close.

Bayeux Hotel (B, L, D)

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris

Day 6: Normandy Tour

Breakfast is served at the hotel before a full day of touring Normandy. The first stop is the Chateau of Marie-Louise Osmont, in the Sword Beach sector, which was appropriated by the Germans in 1940. Next is the Pegasus Bridge, where the first shots of the D-Day invasion were fired by British troops shortly after midnight on June 6, 1944. The Pegasus Bridge Museum and the Grand Bunker Museum follow before students enjoy lunch in Arromanches. The afternoon includes the Cinema Circulaire Arromanches 360 film, which tells the story of the terrible Battle of Normandy thanks to archival images gathered from around the world. The day’s last stop is Longues sur Mer, one of the only batteries on the Atlantic Wall with guns still in place. Dinner is at leisure in one of Bayeux’s quaint cafés.

Bayeux Hotel (B, L, D)


				Students at Longues sur Mer

Day 7: Normandy Tour

On another full day in Normandy, students will make stops at historic sites like Ste Mere Eglise and its Airborne Museum; La Fiere Bridge, the scene of intense fighting for three days by paratroopers shielding Utah Beach from a German counterattack; Chateau de Bernaville, the site where Allied forces ambushed German General Wilhelm Falley, for a picnic lunch and discussion on German leadership; The Norman hedgerows, which proved to be a major obstacle to infantry troops as the Battle for Normandy dragged on until late August 1944; Brecourt Manor, which saw fierce fighting on D-Day and was later depicted in HBO's Band of Brothers; and the Utah Beach Museum, which details the landings on Utah Beach and the paratroopers who landed in the Utah Beach area. The day ends with a group dinner.

Bayeux Hotel (B, L, D)

Chateau Bernaville

Day 8: Normandy Tour

This day is devoted to a cultural tour of Bayeux. This medieval city dates back to the Roman Empire, and a third-century wall built to provide protection from Saxon raids can be seen near the cathedral. The Bayeux War Cemetery contains 4,144 British Commonwealth burials of World War II, 338 of them unidentified. There are also more than 500 war graves of other nationalities, the majority German. Most stunning are the nearly 1,000-year-old Bayeux Tapestry commemorating the Battle of Hastings, and the magnificent Bayeux Cathedral. Students then split into small groups for dinner before returning to the hotel for the night.

Bayeux Hotel (B, L, D)

Detail from the Bayeaux Tapestry

Day 9: Normandy Tour

After breakfast, the tour departs for Pointe du Hoc. Situated just between Omaha Beach and Utah Beach, Pointe du Hoc dominates the sea by nature of of its 30-meter vertical cliff. Next is Omaha Beach/Vierville sur Mer, the landing zone of the 116th Infantry Regiment of the 29th Division. A picnic lunch follows. Afterward, students stop at St. Laurent sur Mer and explore the bluffs. The last stop of the day is La Cambe German Cemetery, the final resting place of more than 21,000 German soldiers. Dinner is back in Bayeux in small groups.

Bayeux Hotel (B, L, D)

Omaha Beach

Day 10: Normandy Tour

This is the last full day touring historic Normandy. Ardenne Abbey, where a massacre occurred during the Battle of Normandy, is the first stop. In June 1944, 20 Canadian soldiers were illegally executed at the abbey by members of the 12th SS Panzer Division Hitlerjugend. Next learn about the battle at Memorial de Mont Ormel, called the ultimate and most bitter battle of Normandy. Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery called it "the beginning of the end of the war." Students pause at Montormel for a quick lunch before touring the Montormel Museum.

Next is a custom tour of Memorial de Caen, which commemorates World War II and the Battle for Caen. Before dinner, students hear presentations from members of the French Resistance still alive today.

Bayeux Hotel (B, L, D)

Student at Colleville sur Mer

Day 11: Normandy Tour

The morning starts at The American Cemetery at Omaha Beach, where the tour leader presents a eulogy for fallen soldiers with a strong message about service and sacrifice—a key component of leadership to serve as a lasting reminder of the heroism displayed in Normandy. After lunch, the bus departs for Paris, where students check in to a hotel within Charles De Gaulle Airport. After reflecting on the trip, students split into small groups for dinner before resting up.

Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport Hotel (B, L, D)

Students in the American Cemetery

Day 12: Travel

After breakfast at the hotel, students board flights back to the United States.

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Normandy Landscape

What you will learn

Objectives & Academic Benefits

  • Complete a rigorous online course to earn three college credit hours
  • Identify and make connections to leadership traits integral to the Battle of Normandy that are relevant to college and career paths
  • Learn and develop leadership skills
  • Develop research skills through both primary and secondary source research
  • Write clear and concise content for a specific audience of peers and museum professionals
  • Improve presentation and debate skills by presenting to peers and museum professionals
  • Identify the major components of the Battle of Normandy (Beach Landings, Airborne Operations, Logistics, Fighting in Hedgerows, Breakout)
  • Learn through the personal stories of those who were there

Normandy Tour

Normandy is an incredibly scenic region of pastoral France and a region of great historical importance for over 1,000 years, where ancient hedgerows and farm fields became hallowed ground for the American experience in World War II. Students will have the unique opportunity to learn in these fields and beaches with experienced Museum staff as mentors. The assigned site scenarios allow students to debate the leadership decisions in the locations affected by the battles.

Students will explore the pages of history and the beaches of Normandy as they receive extraordinary lessons in leadership. The transformation that these students will face during the journey is remarkable. Most may have read about the invasion and researched the battles, but standing on Omaha Beach bluffs, pondering the choices that had to be made to overcome staggering obstacles, truly brings classroom lessons to life. This powerful experience will inspire students to recognize leadership in whatever field of study they pursue.

Student in Normandy

Study Abroad with The National WWII Museum and Receive College Credit from Nicholls State University

Normandy Academy starts in the exhibits, archives and warehouses of The National WWII Museum in New Orleans and ends in the historic American Cemetery overlooking Omaha Beach, Normandy. Upon completion of this program, your student will leave with a deeper understanding of WWII history and knowledge of the skills exhibited by some of our nation's greatest leaders as they made decisions that would alter the future of the world. Students who participate in Normandy Academy are eligible to receive three credit hours from Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana.

Students View Map of the Normandy Invasion

The John R. Whitman Normandy Scholars Fund

This fund gives students across the country access to the lessons learned during the incredible US journey during World War II. Each year, exceptional students will be chosen who embody the values of education, hard work, and a willingness to spread the lessons of D-Day.

Photo of John R. Whitman during the Vietnam War

About John R. Whitman

A veteran of the Vietnam War who earned two Bronze Stars, including one “V” for Valor, John was born June 8, 1944, or “D-Day Plus 2” as he always said. John always marveled at the bravery and innate leadership shown by the troops landing at Normandy. He and his wife, Christie, enjoyed several trips with The National WWII Museum. John, who passed away in 2015, strongly believed in the Museum’s mission, particularly the importance of education in developing an informed citizenry.


Pre-Tour Preparation

Pre-Tour Preparation : Spring 2015

In preparation for the trip to Normandy, students will delve into a reading list of essential books on D-Day and into the Museum's world-class collections of digitized, online WWII archives and oral histories. Normandy Academy is more than just a student trip to France. The online course will provide the knowledge needed for an in-depth tour of Normandy and will include detailed discussions among students, professors and Museum staff. The collections of The National WWII Museum will supplement the reading material and discussions. Students will ultimately study, analyze and debate the decisions made by officers and soldiers in planning and carrying out the battle. With the knowledge and insight gained from these explorations, students develop arguments — pro and con — for a variety of decisions made across the Normandy battlefield from generals to privates.

History as Experienced by Those Who Were There

The Oral Histories of The National WWII Museum play a crucial role in the program. Segments of three oral histories emphasize examples of leadership in extraordinary situations. These testimonials begin with Don Malarkey who, under the leadership of Lt. Dick Winters, participated in one of the most successful combat missions of D-Day at Brecourt Manor, and end with the story of a recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor. All oral histories will be available online.

Mr. Don Malarkey

Mr. Don Malarkey, Sgt. Company E; 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment; 101st Airborne Division

Mr. Malarkey was a paratrooper with "Easy Company" of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment of the 101st Airborne Division. Malarkey was present at the assault on Brecourt Manor, which is one of the best examples of a small unit working cohesively during the Battle of Normandy.

Listen to Oral History
Mr. Leonard Lomell

Mr. Leonard Lomell, Sgt. Company D; 2nd Ranger Battalion

Mr. Lomell was a member of the US 2nd Ranger Battalion. Tasked with climbing the cliffs of Pointe du Hoc, Mr. Lomell discusses his training in England and his performance in Normandy, which included destroying German coastal artillery guns that threatened the success of the landings. On D-Day, Lomell and Sgt. Jack Kuhn took the initiative to locate the guns further inland and destroy them.

Listen to Oral History
Mr. Walter Ehlers

Mr. Walter Ehlers, Sgt. 16th Infantry Regiment; 1st Infantry Division

Mr. Ehlers landed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 as a Staff Sergeant in the 1st Infantry Division. Mr. Ehlers continued fighting in the days after D-Day and received the Medal of Honor for his actions on June 9-10 when he repeatedly led his men forward to take out German machine gun positions. He continued to fight throughout Normandy and received his Medal of Honor in Paris in December 1944.

Listen to Oral History
Mr. Marvin Perrett

Mr. Marvin Perrett, Coxswain USS Bayfield (APA-33), LCVP 33-21

Mr. Perrett landed troops on Utah Beach while piloting LCVP 33-21 on D-Day. Marvin then went on to land troops at Southern France, Iwo Jima and Okinawa. The Museum's "Higgins Boat" is numbered in honor of Mr. Perrett and LCVP 33-21.

Listen to Oral History



Testimonials

  • I’ve read and watched movies about Omaha Beach during D-Day but to actually visit it was truly amazing.  It was at this beach that I learned a very important lesson about D-Day: yes, many soldiers died, but they risked their lives in hopes of creating a better future for other generations.
    – Leah B., Gardena, California

  • The experience was amazing. I truly have a deeper respect for the generation and all those veterans who fought. They truly have made this world the world we live in now.
    – Carrie T., Thibodaux, Louisiana

  • At the Museum, we were able to dive deeper into what the public doesn’t see. For instance, we were able to go through and open up yearbooks from schools all over the country from 1944.
    – Carleton C., Thibodaux, Louisiana

  • Actually seeing the artifacts and holding them put it all into perspective. The most fun was just being able to see all of the artifacts … the firearms and the tanks … I’ve always liked that sort of stuff since I was young.
    – Andrew B., Arlington, Virginia

  • In France, the history is tangible. You can literally feel the importance of a building by the depressions in the steps, and you can imagine how many people have stood in that exact spot. The beaches that we saw, where ships full of GI's charged the German batteries, were so beautiful and peaceful, but you could feel the sadness and the hope that remained after the men were washed away. It was such a powerful feeling.
    – Natalie M., San Pedro, California

  • Standing amongst the crosses and Stars of David at the American cemetery at Colleville, we were all now painfully aware of how the sacrifices of our soldiers, … made it possible for us to stand there [today] in peace and in calm.
    – Susana S., Southborough, Massachusetts

  • As I walked through the terrain, I took note of the craters, hiding places, and tourists. I imagined the soldiers making their way up and walking across the same ground that I now stood upon. I imagined the soldiers fighting, breathing, and dying. I closed my eyes for a few moments, and when I opened my eyes, I felt it. It was as if the ground now leaked their stories, each one of them eager for me to discover it.
    – Daniela D., Lowell, Massachusetts