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Shipyard owner donates $20 million to World War II museum

The National WWII Museum received a $20 million donation from Louisiana shipyard magnate Boysie Bollinger.

Ranking among the top donations in the country to a non-profit organization or museum, the private gift is the largest that the museum has ever received.

The museum said Bollinger’s career in shipbuilding and his reputation as an entrepreneur often prompt comparisons to a famous World War II-era boatbuilder, Andrew Jackson Higgins. It is because of Higgins that the museum is in New Orleans, and it is largely because of Bollinger that it became a reality.

The $20 million donation will be used to add an iconic architectural piece to the museum’s New Orleans campus, the Canopy of Peace, which Bollinger calls “the finishing touch” to the museum’s expansion. The canopy will symbolize the hope and promise that the end of World War II hostilities unleashed.

Commanding attention on the New Orleans skyline, the 150-foot-tall structure will also unify the museum’s diverse campus in the enduring spirit of the wartime slogan, “We’re all in this together!”

“I’ve always said that we are going to build a world-class museum,” Bollinger said in a statement. “Stephen Ambrose convinced me that this museum was going to last for generations. My attitude is that we are going to take a little longer [to complete the campus], but we are going to do it right and we’re going to build it to last.”