Friday, December 24, 2010

National Museum of the Marine Corps

We've heard multiple friends rave about the National Museum of the Marine Corps, and it's been on my to-do list for a while.  Last weekend, my friend Bob and I took the boys down to Quantico to visit the museum.  We went with pretty high expectations, and we weren't disappointed.

The exterior invokes the image of the Marines raising the flag over Iwo Jima.

My youngest son under the F-4 Corsair

The museum is very well organized to take you through a chronological series of exhibits on everything from the Revolution through the War of 1812, the Mexian War, the Civil War, the Spanish-American War, World War I and II, the Korean War, Vietnam and the Cold War.

There was a LOT to see.  The exhibits were very high-tech, interactive multi-media type displays.

Then there was some goofy fun, too.

My youngest son (6 years old) brought his stuffed-animal dog, Waggy, and we have dozens of photos of Waggy from all over the museum.  My eldest son (9 years old) really liked the World War I exhibit since he's been doing a segment on World War I at school.

Amphibious landing craft used in the landings at Tarawa.

Bob and I especially enjoyed the World War II exhibit since we just finished watching The Pacific.  It was great to see some pictures of the real Marines who were portrayed in the HBO series, and videos of interviews with them, too. 

The first US flag flown over Mt. Suribachi, Iwo Jima.

In the Korean War section, we walked through a life-size diorama of the Chosin Reservoir with gunfire and mortars going off, tracers flying by, and they have the temperature in that room cranked down so you feel like you're freezing your butt off at the Chosin Reservoir.
The boys running down the ramp of the CH-46 into Vietnam.

You enter the Vietnam section through the fuselage of a CH-46 helicopter.  The inside of the helicopter really SMELLS like a military helicopter.  While in the helicopter, you listen to some radio dialogue between the pilot and the ground forces about landing in a hot LZ.  Then you run down the ramp into the diorama of Vietnam, and it's HOT and HUMID and there's a battle raging around you.

Harrier and helo

I was impressed to see so many Medals of Honor on display here.  Since it's illegal to reproduce or sell a Medal of Honor, you know the ones on display here in the museum are the real thing donated by the families of the brave Marines who earned them.

We arrived about 1 p.m., and they kicked us out at closing time at 5 p.m.  We had to drag the boys out against their will.  They were busy doing some interactive team problem-solving game when I had to drag them out because the museum was closing.  

Two peas in a pod.

The National Museum of the Marine Corps is essentially a museum of American History.  In every conflict our nation has ever fought, the Marines have been there and done that.  This was an extraordinarily good museum and a fun time for all of us.  

To top it all off, it's FREE!  And when I say free, I'm not saying Smithsonian it's-free-but-you've-gotta-pay-$14-to-park "free" (like the Udvar Hazy Center).  This is really no kidding FREE. 

Don't forget to check out the Lego Sculpture in the Gift Shop!


Debbie said...

That sounds great. I had no idea it even existed.

Anonymous said...

I didn't know that it existed either- can't wait to check it out!