Premiered Monday, July 11, 2022 at 7pm on WYES-TV

The documentary was awarded a 2023 Public Media Award presented by NETA, the National Educational Telecommunications Association.

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Biz New Orleans | | WWNO Radio interview with Diane Mack | WWL-TV interview with Eric Paulsen

The WYES documentary tells the story of how two University of New Orleans historians sought to salute the spirit of Americans who fought to preserve our freedom.

Produced by Marcia Kavanaugh, FOUNDED ON FRIENDSHIP & FREEDOM: THE NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MUSEUM focuses on the legacy of these two friends: Dr. Gordon “Nick” Mueller, the National WWII Museum President and CEO Emeritus, and Dr. Stephen Ambrose, the best-selling author and historian who died in 2002.

Dr. Gordon “ Nick” Mueller and Dr. Stephen Ambrose

Features archival and new interviews with:

Dr. Gordon “Nick” Mueller
Dr. Stephen Ambrose
Diana Bajoie
Günther Bischof
Gregory O’Brien
Donald “Boysie” Bollinger
Bill Detweiler
Malcolm Ehrhardt
Mary Landrieu
Donald Miller
Frank Stewart
Stephen Watson
Grace Ambrose Zaken

The dream of these colleagues and close friends – Mueller and Ambrose – exists today as The National WWII Museum in downtown New Orleans. Since its opening on June 6, 2000, the museum has drawn more than nine million visitors and expanded into an internationally-recognized attraction which serves to remind us of the price and legacy of war.

Ambrose recognized the importance of preserving the recollections and stories documented in the oral histories of WWII veterans, particularly those of the Normandy Invasion. He turned to his Mueller to help establish a brick and mortar location to house the artifacts of WWII and keep the experiences of the WWII generation alive for posterity.

Neither would realize at the time how their idea would expand into one of the world’s most recognized, respected and visited museums. It singularly captures the profound role New Orleans played in winning the war, as home to Andrew Higgins Industries, manufacturer of the “Higgins boats,” or beach landing craft named after New Orleanian Andrew Higgins, referred to by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as “the man who won the war for us.” Their museum idea broadened into a greater vision of establishing a place to memorialize the fight for freedom waged by the men and women of the World War II generation.

The documentary features archival and new interviews with: Dr. Gordon “Nick” Mueller, Dr. Stephen Ambrose, Diana Bajoie, Günther Bischof, Gregory O’Brien, Donald “Boysie” Bollinger, Bill Detweiler, Malcolm Ehrhardt, Mary Landrieu, Donald Miller, Frank Stewart and Grace Ambrose Zaken.

FOUNDED ON FRIENDSHIP & FREEDOM: THE NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MUSEUM depicts the shared camaraderie and sheer determination of these two UNO professors who overcame challenges, secured support and crafted a pathway to unimagined international success while also bestowing a priceless educational and economic asset to the community.


The National D Day Museum opens June 6, 2000.  It would later become The National WWII Museum.
Producer Marcia Kavanaugh interviews Dr. Gordon “ Nick” Mueller at The National WWII Museum