Then a second building came in addition, in 1983 (700m2 on ground level). It notably houses an American C47 plane that dropped paratroopers on Sainte-Mère-Eglise on D-Day. In 2014, the museum has extended with a third, 1 200m2 building, Operation Neptune, that presents an immersive scenery with sound and light effects, and allows a very close look at the collection. Finally, in 2016, a conference center was inaugurated. It houses a 120 seats cinema room as well as a 100m2 temporary exhibition room.
After the extension phase, the museum launched a renovation phase of those 2 most ancient buildings, the WACO and the C47.
Thanks to Europe, the State, and the Normandy Region’s help, the extension of the reception-shop as well as the renovation of the C-47 building were completed. The new reception-shop opened in March 2019 and was able to welcome with ease the numerous visitors that came as part of the 75th anniversary of the D-Day. the scenery of Operation Neptune’s hall was also enhanced; the works were done in January and February 2021. Finally, the new C-47 building opened at the end of October 2021, after a year of works that allowed to renovate not only its structure, but also its scenery.
Now, the museum starts its latest project, AIRBORNE 1964-2024, that will close this great modernization phase.
- Renovation of the actual WACO building, now called “Carpentier” from the name of its architect, to implement museum functions (German strengths in the area, life in Sainte-Mère-Eglise under Occupation, the Resistance) but also means of introduction to the visit and of group welcoming. To keep this building that was inaugurated on June 6 1964, that is so iconic for the museum but also for the region, with its specific architecture, seemed obvious, if not mandatory in terms of legacy.
- Construction of a new building in the museum’s park allowing to house the only American glider from World War II visible in France in suitable conditions for its meaning and history. The museum path will be dedicated to these gliders, from their inception to their participation in the various operations of the war.
- Landscaping of the museum’s park (almost 2 ha) in order to transform it into an open air museum, with vehicles and cannons exhibitions, but also by recreating an authentic norman bocage landscape, with hedgerows and a marsh room area. Resting and picnic areas will also be implemented to enhance the visiting experience.
- Development of the South reception into a snacking and resting zone. The length of the visit will substantially increase, from 2 hours to approximately 2h45. This 27m2 building near the Conference Center will be overhauled to become a permanent sheltered snacking place. Visitors will be able to regroup there to relax, eat and take their time.
- August 2022: Filing of the building permit
- February 2023: Start of the works
- June 2024: Inauguration