“Are you a fish, boy?” demanded a disgusted DI of a waterlogged recruit who fell from rope obstacle on the confidence course in 1971. Photo courtesy of the National Museum of the Marine Corps

National Museum of the Marine Corps to open May 17


The National Museum of the Marine Corps will reopen to the public May 17, after a temporary closure related to COVID-19. The museum team is excited to welcome visitors while taking great care to ensure the well-being of visitors, volunteers and staff.


Face coverings must be worn by all visitors over the age of 6, and are highly recommended for children between the ages of 2 to 6. All staff and volunteers are also required to wear face coverings and will be walking throughout the Museum to answer questions and ensure proper social distancing.


Proper social distancing, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is 6 feet from those outside one’s immediate group. If a gallery or exhibit area is crowded, visitors are encouraged to return to that area when it’s less crowded.


To ensure the safety of museum visitors, volunteers and staff, the museum will limit capacity. Once the safe capacity is reached, visitors will need to wait until others exit. While waiting, visitors may enjoy a walk through the Semper Fidelis Memorial Park with its monuments, which honor Marine Corps organizations and those who served in them.


Hand sanitation stations are positioned throughout the museum and visitors are encouraged to use them often. The restrooms are cleaned regularly throughout the day, ensuring that soap dispensers are always filled and high touch areas are disinfected. Water fountains are turned off but visitors may bring in an unopened, clear 20-ounce water bottle.


Some areas of the museum are temporarily closed for the safety of visitors. Touch screens will be available but some other interactives will remain closed for now. The Children’s Gallery is currently closed.


There’s plenty to see at NMMC including the extension of Legacy Walk, the timeline leading to the exhibit galleries. These exhibits tell Marine Corps stories of humanitarian efforts, special duties, Marine Families, 9/11 and the ultimate sacrifice.


Stories of sacrifice are the theme of “In the Highest Tradition — WWII Medal of Honor Art: Paintings by retired Marine Col. Charles H. Waterhouse,” in the Museum’s Combat Art Gallery on the second deck. This art exhibit presents portraits and paintings of World War II Medal of Honor recipients created by Waterhouse to document their self-sacrificing deeds.


World War II heroes are also honored in the museum’s expanded Navajo Code Talkers exhibit. The exhibit features interviews with Navajo Code Talkers, an explanation of the spoken code as well as the importance and deployment of the code. Within this exhibit are artifacts including a radio and headset used by Code Talkers, and one of the Congressional Gold Medals awarded to the Code Talkers.


Visitors will also see the progress being made on the Final Phase project. While the completion of these galleries is a few years away, visitors can now see macro artifacts in place, walls going up and, soon, work on the exhibit fabrication. These new galleries will take visitors to Somalia, Beirut, Desert Shield/Desert Storm and into Iraq and Afghanistan.


Scuttlebutt Theater, Tun Tavern, the Medal of Honor Theater and the gift shop will be open to visitors as well.


For more information about the Museum’s reopening protocols, frequently asked questions and more, visit www.usmcmuseum.com/covid-19.

The museum is a public-private partnership between the U.S. Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation. The National Museum of the Marine Corps, under the command of Marine Corps University, preserves and exhibits the material history of the U.S. Marine Corps; honors the commitment, accomplishments and sacrifices of Marines; supports recruitment, training, education and retention of Marines; and provides the public with a readily accessible platform for the exploration of Marine Corps history. It is located at 18900 Jefferson Davis Highway in Triangle, Virginia, and open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.  daily, except Dec. 25. Admission and parking are free. For more information, call (703) 784-6107 or visit https://www.usmcmuseum.com/home.html.