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As America's western frontier disappeared, Americans looked with envy toward the overseas colonial empires possessed by European powers and the business opportunities in those distant places. This new interest in expanding and protecting American interests overseas spawned a new U.S. Navy, and the Marine Corps grew along with it. The Corps developed new capabilities to help the fleet dominate the high seas, and traditional deployments as small shipboard detachments gave way to larger Marine formations.

As visitors enter this gallery, they are introduced to President Theodore Roosevelt's "Great White Fleet," new Navy battleships that would serve as his "Big Stick" during a 14-month voyage around the world. The technology employed by sailors and Marines changed markedly in this age of innovation. By 1914, most of the great powers were using steam-powered ships, aircraft, armored cars and trucks, machine guns, and heavy artillery. The new tools used by the Marines are displayed here, to include a Curtiss Pusher A-2 aircraft, a King armored car, the Dahlgren boat howitzer, the .45 caliber pistol, and much more.

Marines saw action around the globe. In 1871, after being fired upon by Korean gunners along the Sallee River while approaching to negotiate a commerce treaty, the U.S. naval force landed Marines and sailors, who stormed the slopes and overwhelmed the Korean positions. In the 1890s, Marines engaged the enemy during the Spanish-American War in Cuba, the Caribbean Sea, and the Philippines. In mountains and jungles, the fight against Filipino guerrillas lingered into the new century. Marines landed in China in 1900 to help protect western diplomats and their families from an anti-foreign uprising in Peking. American newspapers highlighted Marine heroics during the epic siege and its relief.

During the decade before World War I, Marines fought in Mexico, arrested seal poachers in the Bering Sea, and quelled disorder and protected U.S. citizens in Panama, Cuba, Nicaragua, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. Visitors walk through a tent pitched at a camp during the Philippine insurrection to get a glimpse of just what life was like for the Marines who had just come back from yet another exhausting patrol. This gallery is especially rich in artifacts—from the Marine Corps and from distant lands. Campaign hats, uniform coats, cartridge belts, flags once planted on foreign shores, a field heliograph, medals, and personal items help interpret the era. Among these objects are articles that belonged to some of the legendary heroes of the Corps, including Smedley Butler and Thomas Kates. Bolos, a voodoo drum, Haitian swords, and other captured materials add texture to the description of the Marines' foes. Hanging overhead is an experimental Curtiss A-2 amphibian aircraft, the Navy's second aircraft type. It was flown in 1912-14. Positioned on a dirt road, visitors find another experimental vehicle, a King armored car being tested by Marines from the Philadelphia Navy Yard in 1916. Weapons from this period are well represented to include knives and swords, rifles, machine guns, and hand guns. Before leaving, visitors also meet John Philip Sousa and listen to the Marine Band in a concert performance of their choosing, while inspecting musical instruments used by Band members.



1866 – 1916
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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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Copyright© 2006. Admission to the National Museum of the Marine is FREE. Hours are 9:00 AM to 5: 00 PM every day except Christmas Day.