Airborne Museum

June 6 1944

Liberation of Sainte-Mère-Eglise by the paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions.


A memorial vocation

Several letters exchanged between Alexandre Renaud, mayor of Sainte-Mère-Eglise at the Liberation, and American and French authorities, in order to try to collect the necessary funds for the construction of a building with a memorial vocation.

Beginning of the 60’s

May 1957 : Alexandre Renaud expresses the wish to find an American glider to the 82nd.

1959: Jean Masselin is elected mayor of Sainte-Mère-Eglise. He handles the museum’s creation project.

The American search party locates a WACO CG4A glider wreck in very bad shape. The wreck is entrusted for restoration to the Salis workshop of La Ferté-Alais, in the Parisian area. Simultaneously, the association for “The permanent exhibition of the airborne troops” (1901 bill) is born and takes over the project of the museum.

June 6 1963

The first stone

The first stone of the first building of the museum is laid by the Ambassador of the United States in France, General James M. Gavin.

June 6 1964


The parachute shaped first building is inaugurated in the presence of generals Taylor and Ridgway.


An exceptional offer

A very passionate aviation and skydiving fan offers an exceptional but cumbersome donation to the members of the association: an authentic transport plane, not just another plane but the famous Douglas C-47 Skytrain. A mythical plane having participated in the airborne drops above Sainte-Mère-Eglise during the night of June 5 to 6th 1944. The Association then decides to give it a choice location inside its park and starts construction of a second building.

June 6 1983: Inauguration of the second building, with a roof in the shape of a Delta wing.

June 5 2014

Inauguration of the third building

Inauguration of the third building, Operation Neptune, in the presence of many veterans including Don Jakeway, 82nd Airborne veteran and General Nicholson also of the 82nd Airborne.

May 2015-May 2016

The fourth building: The Ronald Reagan Conference Center

May 2015: Beginning of the work of the fourth building.

May 2016: Inauguration of the fourth building, the Ronald Reagan Conference Center, which is annexed to Operation Neptune. It houses a cinema room as well as a temporary exhibition space.


Renovation and extension

Renovation and extension of the reception and the giftshop. The reception desk, more spacious, can now welcome larger groups at once, reducing waiting times for visitors in the ticketing area. The giftshop also got bigger and can now display a wider range of products.

October 2020

Initiation of the new renovation project

Airborne Museum - Visuel extérieur

Initiation of the new renovation project. The project, estimated at about 3.3 million euros, was financially supported by both Europe (FEDER funds), with 1.5 millions, and the Région Normandie, with 420 000€.

May 2021

The remodelling of the Neptune Hall

May 2021: The museum reveals the remodelling of the Neptune Hall. It now brings light to brand new matters: medicine during the war, temporary cemeteries, civilians during the Liberation, the making of Memory and remembrance, and, last but not least, the “after Normandy”.

October 2021

A brand new exhibition design

In October 2021, the C-47 building unveiled a brand new exhibition design, both immersive and spectacular, in the center of which reigns the legendary plane.

Thanks to this innovative exhibit design, visitors will experience the events of D-Day alongside US paratroopers.

February 2023-June 2024

The Airborne 1964-2024 project

The museum starts its latest renovation-extension project, titled Airborne 1964-2024. The works are spread in 3 parts: the construction of a 5th building of 1200m2, entirely dedicated to the gliders ; the refurbishment and overhaul of the former WACO building, that will from now on be called the Occupation building, and will treat this theme while concentrating on Sainte-Mère-Eglise and nearby ; the overhaul of the museum’s park, which will be entirely vegetalized, better enhanced, and will have a few more vehicles showcased.

Inauguration is scheduled for June 6 2024.

Airborne 1964-2024 - axe 3 - vignetteAirborne 1964-2024 - Axe 1 - vignette

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