National Museum of The Marine Corps

As noted I spent the last 3 days in the DC area.  Yes there was storm damage.  Yes we had to scramble on arrangements for our meetings, lodging, etc.  Not a big deal.

I travel a lot.  One thing that I notice when I travel is that I rarely take the time to see the area.  Fly in for meetings, work work work, fly out, repeat.  Since I had to come in on Sunday anyway for this trip, I decided to fly early and take in a few sites.  I managed to strike two off the bucket list, although I think there will be repeat visits to both of them.

The NMMC.  WOW!  I cannot possibly do justice to it all so let me hit the highlights.

The Structure.

Photos do not do it justice.  The entry in the parking area is designed to move vehicles smoothly through the parking lot and works very well for that.  It also will work very well for parading Marines up and down that entry way.  I think perhaps the designers had more than just museum displays in mind for this facility.

Everyone focuses on the roof line of the building, and it is incredible, artistic and well done.  What struck me most though is the entryway to the building.  The funnel from the “parade deck” through the opening in the circular build is classic and minimalist.  As you walk through there are over sized “dragons teeth” spaced along the wide walkway.  On each of the dragon’s teeth is a single Eagle, Globe, and Anchor.  Above the entry doors themselves is a single Eagle, Globe, and Anchor.

Interior.

There are plenty of photos around of the interior of the facility.  Keeping with the theme of “we are proud of who we are, and we are going to tell you about it without a lot of hoopla” the central area of the museum presents you with four full size aircraft hanging above you, and a helicopter and landing craft dioramas on the floor of the museum.  The curators have done a tremendous job with the realism of the dioramas.  Incredible detail.  The aircraft, well the F4 Corsair has always been one of my favorite aircraft.  There are two at the Museum.

The exhibits are museum exhibits.  They do a great job telling the history of the Marine Corps, and use multi-media tools to keep people engaged.  When you walk into the Vietnam exhibit area it is hot and humid.  When you walk into the Chosin exhibit area it is cold and dry.  While neither are to the historical climate extremes experienced in those times and places it is a reminder of what the environment was like.

And then the interesting stuff.  Chesty Puller’s medals, you can see some of them here.  Weapons from throughout the history of The Corps are on display.  There are some treasured items that hold a special place in our history and our Corps throughout the exhibit space.  The second flag to fly at Mt. Surabachi…it is there.  Pieces from the Pentagon that were removed as a result of the 9/11 attack, are there as well.

The Staff

While in the gift shop, and dining areas you tend to meet the “normal” level of service workers, the exhibit area and the information desk are manned by Marines.  I met a Marine who fought at Iwo at the front desk.  At the Iwo exhibit, I met a Marine who flew in Vietnam.

Bottom line.  If you are in the DC area take the time to see the NMMC and talk to the folks that are there, it is worth your time.

Just for the record, the second site I visited was Arlington.  I may or may not share those thoughts.

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