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1. What is the purpose of the Museum?
To view the history of America through the eyes of the Marine Corps and to discover what it’s like to be a Marine; understand our contributions to the nation, learn the meaning of our core values (honor, courage, and commitment), and explore how the Marine Corps has evolved over the past 200 years.
2. Why was the Museum built?
It was built as the cornerstone of a campus of facilities intended to preserve and present the history of the Marine Corps.
3. How long has the Museum been in the works?
In the late 1980s, Congress authorized each service branch to develop their own national centers to house and interpret their history for the American public. The Commandant of the Marine Corps agreed to the public/private venture created to develop the Museum in 1997. Construction of the Museum began in 2004.
4. What are the future plans for the Museum?
Currently 118,000 square feet, future phases will expand the facility to over 200,000 square feet, including more area for exhibit galleries, a large-screen theater, an art gallery and studio, displays, and classrooms.
5. What kind of artifacts does the Museum house?
The National Museum of the Marine Corps collects three dimensional artifacts (for example: vehicles, uniforms, weapons, personal effects, etc.) in a selective and responsible manner. On display at the Museum are approximately 1,000 artifacts that range in size from tactical attack aircraft to individual blouse buttons from the Civil War. Each artifact was carefully selected by the Museum’s curatorial staff for display. If you have an artifact that you think the Museum would be interested in, please click here for more information.
6. Who designed the Museum? How was the firm selected?
Fentress-Bradburn Architects (FBA) of Denver, CO, designed the National Museum of the Marine Corps. They were selected through a national competitive process. The recommendation of FBA was approved by Commandant General Jim Jones.
7. What is the significance of the Museum’s design?
Curstis Worth Fentress, the architect who designed the Museum, acknowledges that his primary inspiration for the design of the Museum came from the famous image of the raising of the American flag on Iwo Jima. However, as he states, the significance of the building’s design goes beyond simply mirroring that iconic image: “This Museum is a new icon. Whether it is Iwo Jima, rifles held at ready or independent iconography, the clean lines and modest materials are suggestive and reflective… engaging every visitor on a very personal and individual level.”
8. How is the Museum paid for?
It is a public/private venture. The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation raised donations to pay for the vertical construction of the building (about $60 million). The Marine Corps used appropriated funds to pay for the design, various studies, and the fabrication of the exhibitry (about $30 million).
9. Did taxpayer money fund any part of the Museum?
The Marine Corps’ portion was appropriated federal funds, expended over a period of some ten years.
10. Who is the Museum’s biggest donor?
The estate of Alfred Lerner ($10 million).
11. Who will pay for the Museum’s maintenance once the Museum opens?
The Marine Corps has programmed Operations and Maintenance funding for this purpose.
12. What is the relationship between the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, the Marine Corps and the
Legislation passed by Congress in 2001 allows the Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation to enter a partnership for the purpose of developing a Marine Corps Heritage Center…the Museum being the first building of what will eventually be a campus.
13. Why do you have to pay for the Museum’s rifle range?
The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation utilizes the revenue generated from ticket sales for the rifle range to support the operations and future development of the Museum.

The Foundation feels that the $5.00 ticket price for the rifle range is a fair charge for such a unique visitor experience.

There is no admission charge for the Museum and parking at the facility is free.
14. Is there an age/height requirement for the rifle range?
There are no age or height restrictions for the rifle range.
15. Is it appropriate to have a firing range in a Museum?
Museums across America and around the world are finding that visitors now respond best to the experiential. Since rifle qualification is a vital part of the Marine Corps experience, the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation carefully selected the most authentic, and the safest, rifle simulation system available to allow visitors to “qualify.”
16. Why should someone who is not a Marine visit the National Museum of the Marine Corps?
To enjoy the unique facility, to learn our history, to understand our ethos, and to view the best of our collection of Marine Corps artifacts, many placed in representations of the environments in which they were actually used.
17. Is the National Museum of the Marine Corps suitable for small children?
The mission of the National Museum of the Marine Corps is to preserve and exhibit the material history of the U.S. Marine Corps; honor the commitment, accomplishments, and sacrifices of Marines; support recruitment, training, education, and retention of Marines; and provide the public with a readily accessible platform for the exploration of Marine Corps history.

To meet the goals of this mission, the Museum has made every effort to present the history of the United States Marine Corps in the most objective manner possible — including scenes of combat and combat casualties. This is done purposely to underscore the courage, hardship, and sacrifice made by every Marine on the battlefield. Throughout the Museum, highly realistic cast figures, photographs, and movie footage describe and depict combat actions. Younger visitors may find the graphic nature of these displays disturbing or unsettling. Additionally, several of the exhibit galleries include full immersive, interactive combat environments that may be frightening to very young children. Visitors bringing young children to the National Museum of the Marine Corps are encouraged to speak with a Museum Docent at the Information Desk if they are concerned that the Museum’s exhibits may not be age–appropriate for their children.
18. What makes the Marine Corps different from the other services?

Three things:

  1. Our mission – we are “first to fight.”
  2. Our training.
  3. Our history.

National Museum of the Marine Corps
18900 Jefferson Davis Highway
Triangle, VA 22172
Toll Free: 1.877.635.1775

American Association of Museums Virginia Green Attraction

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