- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - A former board chairman has given the National World War II Museum $20 million, half of it for a 150-foot-tall canopy that will shade the courtyard and some buildings. It’s the museum’s biggest donation ever, officials said Tuesday.

“I hope tomorrow we hear someone else is the largest contributor to the National World War II Museum,” Boysie Bollinger, chairman and CEO of Bollinger Shipyards, said during a live-streamed news conference to announce his gift.

The money includes $4.5 million for capital construction, $4 million for the museum’s endowment, $1 million for a gallery scheduled to open in December, and $500,000 for capital campaign and operating funds, museum spokeswoman Kacee Hill said. Officials said the infusion brings the endowment to $18 million.

The sharply angled “Canopy of Peace,” 448 feet long and 126 feet wide, will be anchored at its long forward edge by two girders coming together in a giant V. It will symbolize the hope and promise of peace and “the enduring spirit of America’s wartime slogan, ‘We’re all in this together,’” said Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller, the museum’s president and CEO.

It’s designed to withstand at least 130-mile-an-hour winds, with a likely safety factor of up to 200 mph, Bob Farnsworth, the museum’s senior vice president for capital programs, said in an interview.

He said the canopy’s shade will help cut the air conditioning bill for the five buildings that sit across the street from the building that opened June 6, 2000, as the National D-Day Museum.

It’s expected to be finished in 2017.

The capital construction donation gave Bollinger naming rights to the Stage Door Canteen, the restaurant where musical productions accompany lunch and dinner. It is now BB’s Stage Door Canteen, after the name Bollinger’s grandchildren call him, according to a news release.

“Some people will never know that’s me, but those who are important to me will know,” the release quoted him as saying. “It’s very personal.”

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC.

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