THE ICON: Stephen Ambrose
THE LEGACY: Stephen Ambrose was already a noted historian by 1990, having served as the official biographer of President Dwight Eisenhower, penned a three-volume biography of President Richard Nixon and, among his major success to that point, published “Undaunted Courage,” a best-selling book about the Lewis and Clark expedition. But over glasses of sherry in his New Orleans backyard in 1990, the UNO professor got an idea: Why not take the artifacts he had collected over the years while interviewing World War II veterans for various projects, and build a museum around them? What is now known as the National World War II Museum would open on June 6, 2000, becoming not just a center for scholarship on the war but one of the city’s leading tourist attractions.
THE ARTIST: D. Lammie Hanson, WhereYart.net
THE INSPIRATION: “He was kind of America’s historian. He personified what he loved most about America — this robust, muscular, positive man who was always so optimistic and had such enthusiasm for life.” — Broadcaster Tom Brokaw, on Stephen Ambrose