Big Red One Assault Museum

Parking

There is free parking available behind the museum. In peak season it can get a little crowded.

Toilets

There are no toilets at this museum, however, the nearby Normandy American Cemetery does have public toilets.

Gift Shop

Inside the entrance are souvenir items as well as wartime pieces recovered from Normandy and the Omaha sector.

A warm and friendly welcome awaits visitors at the Big Red One Assault Museum. As the name implies it is devoted to the US Army's First Infantry Division which landed in the first wave at Omaha Beach. The museum opened in April 2004 and was the result of the passionate obsession of Pierre-Louis Gosselin. In much the same way that Michel de Trez has done at Dead Man's Corner with his passion for the American airborne, Pierre-Louis has achieved something similar at Colleville-sur-Mer.

Despite its small size the museum has on display a considerable number of artefacts, including some unusual items like the complete grouping of military equipment belonging to chaplain Captain Andrews, which he personally donated. In fact, many of the items on display have been donated to Pierre-Louis by veterans.

He began collecting at the age of nine years old. And at age 14 discovered the bow ramp from an LCVP "Higgins Boat" - or Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel to give it the proper military nomenclature. Pierre-Louis will be pleased to show you photographs of the recovery operation and visitors to the museum can inspect the item which now dominates the entrance area.

The displays at the museum are nicely laid out with some attractive touches, such as the design of the labels on some of the artefacts. There is not a huge amount to read in the museum but what there is has both French and English descriptions. Whilst some of the cabinets are well lit (which the photographers among you may appreciate) some of them are a little dark - although this could be to help preserve the contents.

Pierre-Louis Gosselin's collection also includes considerable archive documentation of the actions on Omaha Beach and beyond. Visitors can contact the museum if they would like to use the archive.

There is ample car parking at the museum and inside is a good little shop with some unusual souvenirs. Don't forget to check out the beach obstacles located outside the museum, including a very well-preserved Belgian Gate or "Element C" - part of the German Atlantic Wall defences. Again, Pierre-Louis has photographs of the discovery and recovery of this huge item as well which he spotted amongst the shingle of Omaha Beach in 2007 He is still searching for and discovering items today. One new cabinet we saw during a recent visit contained a huge tin of US Navy grey paint...complete with some of the dried remains of its original contents.

As a bonus, if you are visiting the museum around the time of one of the D-Day anniversaries you may find the grassy area behind the museum being used as a re-enactors camp.


Updated: March 2019


Contact Details:

Normandy Museums:

Ad