December 28, 2011

National Marine Corps Museum

Today was a day I've waited over 5 months for...  We toured the National Marine Corps Museum as a family.  It's one of those things you are always meaning to do, you know, sight see in your own city.  When visiting a far off land, you cram so much into a short vacation in order to see it all but not when it is literally in your own backyard.  Oh, no, that's when it gets put off til next week, then the next and so forth.  We only had to travel the 2 miles up the road from our house to the museum but I was determined to get us out of the house to sight see this Christmas Vacation.

Although the museum is fantastic, the location stinks.  Sure, it is here at the Marine Corps base at Quantico, but not to many tourists from the city will venture down here to see it.  Picture this...

You enter this gigantic atrium and look up to see this...

The entire atruim has this glass ceiling with several aircraft haning above.  The kids were in awe of the entire space. During the day you can see the tippy top of the museum from the highway and at night the lights shine bright up into the night's breath taking!

Next, you're guided through the history of the Marine Corps, starting with "Making A Marine." The famous yellow footsteps start your journey through time.
Your brain is overloaded with the sights and sounds of boot camp.  There are two telephone booth size displays you can enter to listen to what grunts hear from drill instructors, one for males and one for females. The entire museum is laid out in such a way that you just stroll through each period of time, reading, looking and learning, so's wonderful. 

There are display cases everywhere, vehicles, and aircraft but also life size, walk through displays.  Making the visitors feel as part of the history was apparent.

Some display areas had doors closing off the area from the rest of the museum.  Below, is the Korea War.  The room was small but ice cold.  Marine figures were "talking" to one another about the conditions of the cold weather.  We truly felt transported back in time!

The kids did not like the Vietnam display walk through room because the helicopter vibrated making them uneasy. I loved it...I felt like I was in a operational helicopter about to disembark to fight the enemy.

Being that we are located so close to Walter Reed Hospital, there was a children's section where they could draw pictures and letters to send to recovering service men and women.  Of course my kids aren't old enough to draw something well enough that strangers can read and interpret the message but they had fun coloring anyway.

The museum designers wanted to make learning fun and a family affair so there were several stations throughout each historical time period with uniforms we could try on.

Today was truly a fun filled day. Olivia told us that the museum was not scary for little boys (Justin was pointing at everything clearly enjoying himself) but scary for little girls (she was not a fan of the loud noises and guns not behind glass) but it is ok because Daddy was there for protection! She understands everything was pretend but that did not comfort her when the floor of the helicopter was vibrating and the speakers were playing sounds of disembarking!!

Now to just go back without any kids so I can actually read the writing on the wall, all the stories about heroism and courage.  I was inspired today to continue feeding my love of history and learn more... since I was also humbled by how little I actually remember about history!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good job on the details of the museum, we will have to go next time we come for a visit. Glad you could enjoy a day out with the family. Love you, MOM