Five Reasons to Spend the Day at the National Museum of the Marine Corps

Five Reasons to Spend the Day at the National Museum of the Marine Corps

Every year on November 10th, the United States Marine Corps celebrates its birthday.  I had the opportunity to visit the National Museum of the Marine Corps last month. To celebrate the birthday I wanted to share with you five reasons to spend the day at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.

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The National Museum of the Marine Corps is a lasting tribute to U.S. Marines–past, present, and future. Situated on a 135-acre site adjacent to Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, and under the command of Marine Corps University, the Museum’s soaring design evokes the image of the flag-raisers of Iwo Jima and beckons visitors to this 120,000-square-foot structure. World-class interactive exhibits using the most innovative technology surround visitors with irreplaceable artifacts and immerse them in the sights and sounds of Marines in action.

National Museum of the Marine Corps

The museum is free to the public and parking is also free.  It’s open daily from 9 AM to 5 PM, except for Christmas Day.  The Museum, located astride I-95 near Marine Corps Base Quantico, is easily reached from the Washington, D.C. metro area. Guided tours are run daily based on availability. Wheelchairs are available upon request. Tours and special educational programs are available. The Museum Store carries a full line of Marine themed merchandise. An audio tour, which includes dramatic details and oral histories not found in the galleries, is also available for rent in the Museum Store.

Five Reasons to Spend the Day at the National Museum of the Marine Corps

I think the most obvious reason I’ve already post above, it’s free so why not spend the day learning the history of the organization.  Still here’s five more reasons:

1. You Can Get Married at the Chapel 

The museum has a beautiful chapel on the right of the entrance.  You can get married there in a small ceremony, then spend the day exploring the museum.  It’s open to members of the public and you do not need to me former military to use the chapel.

National Museum of the Marine Corps - Semper Fidelis Memorial Chapel

National Museum of the Marine Corps - Semper Fidelis Memorial Chapel

National Museum of the Marine Corps - Semper Fidelis Memorial Chapel

National Museum of the Marine Corps - Semper Fidelis Memorial Chapel

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The views from the chapel are amazing.  Just ten minutes in there and I could easily see why this beautiful location has been used by soon to be brides to celebrate their special day.  The Semper Fidelis Memorial Chapel was built with the concept of a “transparent chapel in the woods,” allowing guests to remain connected to the surrounding nature. The Chapel has won many design and construction industry awards. Visit the events page to learn more about all the events you can hold at the museum and book your special occasion now.

2. Life Size Vehicles 

As soon as we walked into the museum we could see quite a few life-size models of different vehicles used by actual military personnel. While at the museum you can ask one of the veterans volunteering about the models on display and their history.

National Museum of the Marine Corps

National Museum of the Marine Corps

National Museum of the Marine Corps

National Museum of the Marine Corps

National Museum of the Marine Corps

Oh and one quick fact I learned while visiting the museum, the people you see around and in the vehicles, are not maniquens, but replicas of actual people.  Former military members pose to have them made so they look life like.

3. There Are Exhibits for All Ages

One fun thing I noticed about the museum is the different kinds of exhibits they had displayed.  There was something for all ages.  The museum also features an easy to navigate design that allows visitors to start at the Legacy Walk Exhibit and travel all through the Vietnam War.

National Museum of the Marine Corps

National Museum of the Marine Corps

National Museum of the Marine Corps

National Museum of the Marine Corps

National Museum of the Marine Corps

National Museum of the Marine Corps

National Museum of the Marine Corps

National Museum of the Marine Corps

National Museum of the Marine Corps

National Museum of the Marine Corps

The museum is building additional exhibits to expand and include more current events like 9/11 and the future.  The new phase is currently scheduled to open in 2018.

National Museum of the Marine Corps

National Museum of the Marine Corps

National Museum of the Marine CorpsIf you’re visiting with children be sure to check out the special section just for kids.  There are also movie showings for visitors wanting to sit and relax while learing about the Corps.

4. The Riffle Range

In Making Marines, visitors can experience a motivational speech from a Drill Instructor, heft a fully loaded pack, and test their aim on the M-16 Laser Rifle Range.  I must admit as soon and I noticed the range I wanted to take a shot and see how well I would do.

National Museum of the Marine Corps

There is a nominal fee of $5 per person to use the rifle range.  The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation utilizes revenue generated from ticket sales from the rifle range to support the operations and future development of the museum.

5. Dine at Tun Tavern 

Legend has it that the first Marines were recruited at the original Tun Tavern in Philadelphia on November 10, 1775 by Captain Samuel Nicholas. The Museum´s intimate and authentic replica offers a full lunch menu along with bar service.

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Right outside Tun Tavern is a small replica of the original that’s in Philly.  It was cool to see how it looks up close and personal.  The tavern itself has many of the same things you’ll find at the original.

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I tried the crabcake sandwich for lunch while there and it was simply delicious.  If you ever visit the museum I highly suggest stopping by Tun Tavern for lunch.  There’s also a large group cafeteria for quick eats like hot dogs, and other mess hall fare.

To learn more about the National Museum of the Marine Corps visit their website to see their temporary exhibits, how you can volunteer, and you can even make donations to the museum as well.  If you’re visiting the DMV area be sure to add this to your list.

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