THE HERITAGE CENTER
The National Museum of the Marine Corps will be the centerpiece of a complex of facilities called the Marine Corps Heritage Center. This multi-use, 135-acre campus will include the Semper Fidelis Memorial Park and Chapel; a demonstration area with parade grounds; hiking trails and other outdoor recreational offerings; a conference center and hotel; and an archive facility to restore and preserve Marine artifacts.
To Record Our Contributions to the Nation
In creating the new Museum, we will record significant contributions made by the Marine Corps to the American people and their history. Most Museums, especially those with military themes, are content to record facts, display artifacts and document historical events. We will record battles fought and won, but we also intend to show that Marines have been innovators and have done much for the betterment of our nation both on and off the battlefield.
For example, it is widely known that on today’s battlefield, ground troops fight in coordination with close air support. This model had become a standard for military deployment. Even civilians readily recognize the concept. What the American public may not know is that this strategy was pioneered and contributed by the Corps more than 50 years ago. It is embodied in the Marine Air Ground Task Force.
Off the battlefield, the public does not stop to think that a Marine salutes our president whenever he leaves or returns home aboard the presidential helicopter, Marine One. Or that most American embassies are guarded and protected by Marines. The National Museum will explain these and Many other missions constituting a legacy that defines the extraordinary relationship between the American people and the Corps.
To Tell Our Story
The Marine Corps has stood in readiness for America since the Continental Congress authorized its creation during the early days of the American Revolution. Always at the ready when the order has come to "send in the Marines," the historic accomplishments and contributions of the Marine Corps are numerous and legendary. However, the story of these valiant actions and loyal service is largely untold. The United States Marine Corps is the only branch of the military services that has yet to build a significant museum to share its story with the world.
In the late 1980s, Congress authorized each service branch to develop a national center to house and interpret service history to the American public. The National Marine Museum will be distinguished among the thousands of museums nationwide by its special role as the premier steward of Marine Corps heritage. Through multimedia and interactive exhibits, visitors of all ages will be able to immerse themselves in the Marine experience, and learn about the Corps’ vital contribution to the nation and the preservation of America’s freedom.
To Preserve Our Artifacts and Icons
Most patriotic Americans would be dismayed if they knew how many of the Corps’ icons, artifacts and historic documents are deteriorating for lack of proper preservation, restoration and storage.
The Corps is the custodian of sixty thousand invaluable artifacts including: the world’s finest small arms collection; a stunning collection of combat art; authentic combat film footage; archival documents recording the Marine history; and treasured items associated with heroic acts. All are in need of proper facilities for preservation and display.
The National Museum will address these needs.
To Give Back to the Corps
The American people feel gratitude and an obligation to the Corps, given its long contribution in protecting our freedoms. We anticipate their enthusiasm and support for this project.
Marines from every walk of life have expressed willingness to become personally involved and support the effort to develop the National Museum. Why? Because, one and all, they wish to acknowledge the enormous impact the Corps has had on their lives.
We have been moved repeatedly by the powerful personal testimony of those who credit their Marine service for forging the traits of self-discipline, motivation, integrity and leadership. These veterans have made it clear that the values of the Corps must be recorded and preserved, especially for America’s youth. The National Museum finally offers a proper way to communicate these truths.
The Campaign for the National Museum of the Marine Corps is an opportunity for all who revere the Corps to express their gratitude for two and one-quarter centuries of absolute loyalty and service. For Marine veterans, this Campaign is a unique opportunity to give something back to an institution that has played a vital, defining role in their lives.