A visit to the Marine Corps Museum at Quantico, VA


USMC Marine Corps OPD, Quantico, VA

Yesterday, we conducted an OPD (Opportunity for Personal Development) session at work. This is not always a lecture in a conference room about a dry technical topic; sometimes we go out on a field trip, as was the case today. Our destination was the US Marine Corps museum in Quantico, VA. If you have ever been heading North on I-95 at night just north of Fredericksburg, you can’t miss this signature structure, being a giant triangle with a big projecting bit sticking up in the sky. It’s impressive at night.

You can’t miss it.

The museum is a series of galleries roughly running in a semi-circle pattern around a large atrium with a few large scale dioramas in it. Here’s one:

A rather fanciful writer’s embellishment of the Okinawa landing Diorama in the atrium.

The Galleries off of the main atrium (the “Leatherneck Gallery”) follow a roughly historical order of precedence; starting with the origin of the Corps, early actions in the Revolutionary War and 1812, Mexican War and Civil War.

The artifacts in the Marine Corps museum are almost too numerous to mention; standouts for me were the 19th century armory items, such as the Maxim gun, the experimental boarding guns, swords of the early Marine Corps heroes, and the actual sledgehammer head from the assault on the Engine House at Harper’s Ferry!

The World War I section was great, including the much maligned King Armored Car, small arms and dioramas from the conflict, and some interactive video created by the museum staff.

As one might expect… the World War II Pacific section of this museum is the largest gallery by far, as befits a service that had such a huge impact on that theater of World War II. The standout exhibits for me were the actual Second Flag that was raised on Iwo Jima (the one that is featured in the classic flag raising photograph) and the memorial wall for the fallen at Iwo Jima. Alas, the Korean section was somewhat short and the Vietnam section was half bottle up for renovations, so we didn’t see much more. Thanks to Roger from the museum for showing us around!

SLIDE SHOW follows. If this doesn’t work, here is the DIRECT LINK to the show.

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