Visiting the U.S. Marine Corps Museum

Visiting the U.S. Marine Corps Museum

The U.S. Marine Corps celebrated its 241st birthday on November 10, and I was fortunate enough to have the chance to visit the National Museum of the Marine Corps on that very afternoon! This museum was built in 2006 to honor and support the Marines and to make Marine Corps history publicly accessible. From what I can tell, the museum accomplishes all of the above - and in a beautiful, modern building with dynamic, engaging exhibit design to boot.



The lobby of the National Museum of the Marine Corps


Considering how far the museum is from TWC's Residential Academic Facility (RAF) in NoMa, I'm surprised I even managed to make it out to that part of Virginia. When I was given the opportunity to go, how could I say no?  So about 90 minutes of travel later, I walked into the museum's packed lobby and witnessed a ceremony that (among other important things) involved cutting a cake! There was cake available all day, chocolate and vanilla, for everyone. Past the lobby are the exhibits and gallery, which zigzag throughout the entire history of the Marines. In a couple of years, a huge area that is currently under construction will be opened up to educate people about the most recent history of the Marines.


So far, the exhibits cover everything from the making of the Marines to the Vietnam War. The exhibits manage to engage and educate in a variety of ways, utilizing artifacts, interactive activities and dioramas to their full potential. You can walk right through historic battles, feeling the chill of a blizzard while hearing aircrafts whizz overhead. One of my favorite areas to experience was the section on the Battle of Belleau Wood from World War I, which puts you in Belleau Wood, surrounded by grass, red poppies and a fascinating short film about the battle itself. Leading up to the video, you can watch a short display that shows you (in high-tech projection fashion) how the Battle of Belleau Wood played out. Most of the exhibits at the museum are like this - engaging, interactive, and immersive - which makes this museum a fascinating place to explore and learn. For example, you can walk onto a tank and walk through a Marine's tent.


As far away from the RAF as the museum is, I highly recommend that everyone take a visit.  It is designed fantastically, and I found myself both interested and learning a lot. Every little thing from the cleanliness of the museum to the kindness of the docents to such particulars as the historiographical component of how the museum presents certain information was excellent. As someone whose parents do not come from the United States and who tries to actively spot bias in the presentation of information, even I was surprised by how neutrally and tactfully the museum managed to present certain information. Despite how far from the institution of the U.S. Marine Corps I am, I never felt othered while wandering the halls of the museum.


...also, the burgers at Tun Tavern were pretty good.


Until next week,

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