Musée Mémorial d'Omaha Beach

Parking

The museum has its own free car park, with about 24 spaces.

Toilets

There are well-maintained toilets inside the museum

Gift Shop

There is a very well-appointed gift shop accessible at the entrance.

The sands of Omaha Beach are just a few hundred metres from this museum, which sits beside the road from Les Moulins to Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer. This was the route from the "D3" exit from Omaha Beach, between Dog Red and Easy Green sectors. If you aren't bothered about interactive displays and immersive experiences, then this museum is a bit of a gem. It has recently undergone some enhancements, having obtained additional items and improved and enlarged the shop.

Focussing as its name would suggest on the American operations in the Omaha Beach area, the museum is simple in layout but generously appointed in exhibits, some large and some small. From a "Higgins Boat" LCVP landing craft and a German FLAK 38 anti-aircraft gun all the way down to maps, medals and dog-tags, this museum has a lot on display. Where there are labels they are generally printed in both French and English, but quite a few items in the cabinets do not have any description labels. This does make for taking better pictures - and the museum is well lit inside so some of the smaller objects do photograph really well.

As well as the display cabinets there are several life-sized dioramas. One depicts a beach scene at Omaha with some original German beach defences, whilst another depicts captured and wounded Germans soldiers carrying a stretcher under the guard of a US Army MP. American paratroopers are presented in one scene and a great reproduction of a German bunker embrasure is the basis of another. A number of vehicles are integrated into the dioramas as well, including a Weasel, Dodge Ambulance, Dodge Command Car, a jeep and an M3 scout car. Elsewhere, there is a section with several mannequins in German uniforms shown using different pieces of equipment. One is looking through a field scope whilst another operates an MG 42 on a Lafette mount. Overall the dioramas are a great way to display a variety of uniforms, equipment and vehicles - but the mannequins are a bit too "department store window" in their poses, lacking the realism of those used at the nearby Overlord Museum.

There are some rare and unusual items on display, including an example of the wire ladders used by the Rangers just along the coast at Pointe-du-Hoc. There are also some interesting items found many years after the war. For us, the most incredible is the German army jacket, a bit tattered but instantly recognizable, which was found inside a bunker on Omaha Beach in 1979. As well as a collection of forks, spoons, toothbrushes, combes and other items discovered in 2004, there is a ramp from an LCVP on display, along with a huge outboard motor from a Rhino Ferry - both of which were discovered in 2003.

There is a moving short film containing interviews with veterans. It has a running time of around 15 minutes and there are both French and English versions shown alternately. Our only criticism here would be the hard wooden-topped benches which are not especially comfortable. Also, the benches are not tiered so try to get the front row to avoid having your view obstructed. There is actually plenty of room to stand up at the back if you prefer. There is not so much to read around this museum, and the information panels they have are comprised mainly of printed pages or photographs, some with handwritten description.

Outside the museum are a number of interesting items. A Sherman tank and a piece of "hedgehog" beach defence stands in the middle of the car park, and on the grass at the front of the museum can be a seen another piece of the German beach defence equipment called a "Belgian Gate", plus a piece of German towed artillery. In one corner of the car park is a huge American "Long Tom" 155mm towed howitzer. The "Long Tom" weighs in at almost 14 tons and required a crew of 14 to operate. It had a range of over 20km.

If reading online reviews of this museum, be cautious, as a few clever individuals have actually uploaded their reviews of the visitor centre at the Normandy American Cemetery and not this museum. We've found these mistakenly titled reviews on TripAdvisor and Yelp.


Updated: June 2014



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