The D-Day Story, the only museum in the UK dedicated to the Allied Invasion in June 1944, was officially opened today by HRH the Princess Royal. The exhibition reopened at Easter following a £5m National Lottery-supported transformation, undertaken ahead of the 75th anniversary of D-Day in 2019.
The D-Day Story is full of personal stories of courage and determination, comradeship and sacrifice, secrecy and deception, innovation and tactics. It is a story in which ordinary people worked together to achieve an extraordinary outcome. The transformation of The D-Day Story will ensure the events maintain the international significance they deserve and enable new audiences to engage on a personal level.
Cllr Donna Jones - Leader, Portsmouth City Council said: "We're delighted to have been able to welcome HRH The Princess Royal today to the official opening. The D-Day Story is the culmination of many years of work and dedication to bring together this inherently human story and retell it in a way that will continue to resonate for years to come."
Heritage Minister Michael Ellis said: “D-Day was one of the most significant operations of the Second World War. It paved the way for the Allied victory in Europe. I am delighted that this Exhibition, supported by National Lottery players, is preserving the extraordinary stories behind this pivotal moment in British history."
Perdita Hunt, Trustee at the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “D-Day is a moment in history which resonates with many of us, sometimes due to family involvement but also because it has been extensively explored in print, film and on television. What’s new and special about the D-D Story is that it’s the first-ever centre in the UK to draw together a range of facts, memories and objects, giving a much fuller and more complete picture of the Allied Invasion. With the help of £4m from National Lottery players, today’s opening marks the beginning of the build-up to next year’s 75th anniversary and offers an important source of inspiration for visitors of all ages.”
The museum contains exhibits not previously displayed to the public, in refurbished galleries that feature the words and perspectives of those involved - from both a military and a civilian viewpoint. The D-Day Story moves expectations beyond those of a ‘military museum’ towards an experience rich in the humanity of its stories.
Landscaping to the outside of building will be completed next year for the 75th Anniversary and ahead of the arrival of Landing Craft Tank 7074.
The D-Day Story transformation has been enabled in part by a £4m investment from the Heritage Lottery Fund.