WWII Exhibits at 3 Museums Aim at Tourists

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Three D.C. museums this weekend are opening exhibits targeting the millions of tourists expected to visit the National World War II Memorial.

This weekend's openings - at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Northwest, the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center in Northeast and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Southwest - are part of more than 140 special events slated for the city's "America Celebrates the Greatest Generation" festival.

About 100,000 tickets have been sold for the May 29 dedication of the National World War II Memorial on the Mall, which opened last month, and about 800,000 visitors are expected for the Smithsonian's four-day reunion that weekend. About 1 million visitors are expected throughout the summer.

"We knew the dedication weekend would be very special, but they only have 100,000 seats for the ceremony," said Victoria Isley, spokeswoman for the nonprofit Washington, D.C. Convention and Tourism Corp. "We've been working to create a summerlong program for the [World War II] generation and their families."

Today, the Corcoran Gallery will exhibit Norman Rockwell's "Four Freedoms" paintings, and the Pope John Paul II Cultural Center will showcase Christian and Jewish artifacts on loan from the Virginia War Museum.

Both exhibits will close shortly before Labor Day.

"Given the nature of the tie-in with the [World War II] memorial, I'm expecting a lot of people," said Daniel G. Callahan, director of exhibits for the Pope John Paul II Center. "I'm hoping for a unique response from people of faith and not just Catholics. …