As might be expected, most of the museums most relevant to the D-Day landings and the Normandy campaign are dotted along the coast at their respective landing points and beaches.
However it would be a mistake to miss out on some of the very interesting exhibits and museums while taking the popular coastal drive along the routes. Two examples of excellent inland museums not directly related to specific landings are, for example, the Caen Memorial and the Normandy Memorial Museum at Bayeux.
Sword Beach and Airborne Landings
This museum in Ranville hosts the original Pegasus Bridge and a replica of the type of glider used in the operation to capture Bénouville bridge (the original name) over the Caen Canal. The airborne troops were later relieved by forces coming from Sword Beach.
Open: February to September
Also at or near Sword Beach:
Museum of 4 Commando - a museum in Ouistreham to the Free French commandos who were the first French soldiers landed during the Normandy battles.
Hillman Strongpoint - a connected series of bunkers near Colleville-Montgomery fortified as part of the German coastal defences.
Radar Museum of Douvres - one of the German radar installations which formed part of the protection for the Atlantic Wall near Douvres-la-Délivrande.
Juno Beach Centre
This centre is right on the beach where the Canadian forces landed and concentrates on the role played by Canada in World War II as well as the Normandy campaign.
Museum of the Landings
This museum is right on the sea where the British artificial port was constructed and some of the Mulberry Harbour remnants can still be seen in the surf only a few metres off the beach.
Open: Closed in January
Also at or near Gold Beach:
Arromanches 360° - an immersive film projection theatre situated above Arromanches and built for the 50th anniversary of D-Day.
Museum of Gold Beach - a museum in Ver-sur-Mer showing the history of the British landings, as well as the first official airmail service between the USA and France (thus the somewhat confusing French name of Musée America Gold Beach).
La Pointe du Hoc
This is an open-air site which has been reopened to the public and which still shows the scars of the defence of the stategic artillery position in this area. The scaling of the cliffs below by the Rangers and their attack on the gun emplacements is one of the most famous of the Normandy landings.
Open: All year round
Also at or near Omaha Beach:
Omaha Beach Memorial Museum - a museum in Saint-Laurent-sur-Mer near the shore which displays the story of the Omaha Beach landings and the attack on Pointe du Hoc.
Maisy Battery - this museum in Grandcamp-Maisy marks a gun emplacement which fired on the beach for three days and which was finally taken by Rangers after a five-hour battle.
Rangers Museum - the museum in Grandcamp-Maisy tells the story of the fighting at the Pointe du Hoc shown above.
Normandy American Cemetery Visitor Centre - the visitor centre at Colleville-sur-Mer has several displays and films designed to act as a gateway to the massive cemetery.
Museum of the Landings - Utah Beach
This museum is situated at the D-Day beach landing site and is built around one of the former blockhouses built as part of the defences.
Open: Annual closure in December
Also at or near Utah Beach:
Memorial of Liberty Rediscovered - a museum in Quinéville which aims to recreate the atmosphere of the wartime days.
Crisbecq Battery - this museum in Saint-Marcouf-de-l'Isle shows one of the massive coastal artillery emplacements which protected Utah Beach.
Azeville Battery - another restored artillery emplacement in the village of Azeville with a network of tunnels.
Museum of the Battle of Normandy
This museum is located near the big British and Commonwealth war cemetery in Bayeux back from the main D-Day beaches.
Open: Annual closure in January and February
Caen Memorial - one of the best museums or memorials to visit in Lower Normandy.
More details can be found on its own page here: Caen Memorial
Museum of the Battle for Tilly-sur-Seulles - this local museum displays information about the three weeks of bitter fighting in the area which took place after the landings.
British Breakout Museum - a museum in Saint-Martin-des-Besaces dedicated to the fighting to relieve Caen. (Known as the Musée La Percée du Bocage in French.)
US Paratrooper Historical Centre - located in Saint-Côme-du-Mont and dedicated to the fighting between the US and German paratroopers around the Carentan area.
Liberation Museum - in a fortress in Cherbourg with exhibitions about life under Occupation and the fighting following the Normandy landings.
Map of the D-Day and Normandy Campaign Museums
The map below shows the museums near the D-Day landing beaches. For the museums a little bit further away inland, use the zoom out control on the left of the map.