National Museum of the Marine Corps has Landmark Groundbreaking

National Museum of the Marine Corps by Fentress Architects

Quantico Virginia (March 27, 2015) – Designed by Fentress Architects, the National Museum of the Marine Corps broke ground for its new $50 million expansion. Phase I of the museum was inspired by the famous Joe Rosenthal photograph of the flag rising at Iwo Jima, and opened its doors in 2006 to critical acclaim.  The Museum had a record breaking half a million visitors in the first 10 months. Curtis Fentress, Principal in Charge of Design at Fentress Architects said “This new addition will facilitate the museum telling the complete story of the men and women of the United States Marine Corps as they have helped shape the history of the U.S. and the world.” The new addition to the museum will expand gallery spaces to include the Gulf Wars through the Global War on Terror. In addition to the expanded “era” galleries, the museum will include a 350-seat giant screen theater, an expanded education suite, a Marine Sports Hall of Fame, Marine Corps Combat Art Gallery, and a Medal of Honor exhibit.

“The National Museum of the Marine Corps is a world-class institution that has stood as a place of reverence and remembrance for our Marine Corps community, and it has served as an educational institution for more than three million visitors from around the world.” said Lt. Gen. Robert R. Blackman, Jr., President and CEO of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. “The Marines who have served since 1976 have made an indelible mark on the history of our Marine Corps, the nation, and our world. They have earned their place in this extraordinary museum.”

Museum visitors are now seeing the first sign of construction, as a temporary wall to separate the construction activities is being erected in the museum’sLeatherneck Gallery. The museum expansion will make way for the 120,000-square-foot addition. Construction of the physical space is expected to be finished in 2017. The first of the new artifacts will be installed beginning in 2016, and all new galleries and exhibits will be complete by 2020.

The first artifacts added as part of the expansion will be among the most dramatic. A World War II SBD Dauntless dive-bomber will be hung from the museum’s soaring glass ceiling above the existing Tarawa display. A tableau featuring a Vietnam-era Sikorsky UH-340D helicopter will also be added. In 2017, the giant-screen theater will open and feature a spectacular film about the celebrated history of the Marine Corps with a focus on the modern day Marine.

The Global War on Terror gallery will tell the latest chapter of Marine Corps history following the attacks of September 11, 2001. Along with the Gulf War gallery, these two galleries will feature an impressive collection of large artifacts, including an AAV7A1 amphibious vehicle, M198 howitzer, an M60A1 tank, MAT-V mine-resistant vehicle and Bell UH-1N Huey helicopter. Some of the smaller, yet powerfully symbolic artifacts will include an oil-soaked Marine Corp flag from Desert Storm, election ballots from Iraq, gear worn by Women (or Female?)Marines whose critical role during Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom marked historic firsts for the Marine Corps, and the rifle carried by Navy Cross recipient Sgt. Rafael Peralta.