THE ICON: Gordon “Nick” Mueller
THE LEGACY: For 17 years, Gordon “Nick” Mueller presided over a multi-building complex in the Warehouse District that not only commemorates the many facets of World War II but also has become a tourist magnet, attracting more than 6 million visitors by June 30, 2017, the end of its most recent fiscal year. Mueller, a former member of the University of New Orleans’ history faculty who conceived of the museum over glasses of sherry with his UNO colleague Stephen Ambrose, has been the museum’s most visible advocate as he talked up the ever-expanding project, raised money, convened historical symposia, welcomed visitors and amassed artifacts big and small.
THE ARTIST: Saegan Swanson, WhereYart.net
THE INSPIRATION: “We knew we’d hit the ball out of the park. We didn’t know we’d hit it out of the country.” — Gordon “Nick” Mueller, in a 2015 interview, discussing the museum’s success