COLLECTIONS OF THE NATIONAL MUSEUM OF THE MARINE CORPS
The collections held in trust at the National Museum of the Marine Corps document over 230 years of Marine Corps history. The mission of the Museum is to collect and preserve in perpetuity, artifacts that reflect and chronicle the history of the Corps. The more than 60,000 uniforms, weapons, vehicles, medals, flags, aircraft, works of art and other artifacts in the Museum’s collections trace the history of the Marine Corps from 1775 to the present.
The Museum's holdings, which range from combat aircraft to individual Civil War era blouse buttons, are divided into five broad categories: ordnance, uniforms and heraldry, aviation, art and general. Some of the more unusual items in the care of the Museum include a coat worn by Marine Captain Levi Twiggs during his service in the Indian Wars, a presentation baton given to John Philip Sousa on his departure as director of the Marine Corps Band, and an Oscar awarded to the Marine Corps for the World War II documentary “Tarawa.” Perhaps the most symbolically important artifact in the Museum’s collection is the second American flag raised over Iwo Jima’s Mount Suribachi. Associated Press combat photographer Joe Rosenthal’s image of the raising of this flag became one of the most iconic images of World War II and the inspiration for the Marine Corps War Memorial in Washington, D.C.
The Museum collects artifacts selectively and responsively – accepting only those items which are needed and the Museum has the resources to properly care for. Beyond utilizing the collections for exhibitions, the collections of the National Museum of the Marine Corps serve as research aids and reference materials for historians, authors and film makers.
If you have items that you think would help the National Museum of the Marine Corps in its mission to preserve and exhibit Marine Corps history, please click here to learn how to donate artifacts to the Museum.