Monday, February 21, 2011

Marine Corps Museum

A month later I am finally blogging about this wonderful place.  The Marine Corps Museum was our final stop on the weekend trip to DC.  I am so glad I was able to go.  The museum was being constructed while we were living in DC and was completed and open for business about a month after we moved to NC.  Dave was able to visit during one of his many 2-3 week workup prior to his deployment.  They went to train in VA and made a trip to the museum.  I was only a tiny bit jealous.  Yeah.  So, when Dave asked what I wanted to do while we were in DC the first thing on my list was visit the Marine Corps Museum...

I wrote this about the museum when we paused at Tun Tavern for a drink.  "The Marines are the best at what they do, so it shouldn't come as any surprise that their museum is amazing.  In the gallery you can walk amongst the history of our nation and the Marine Corps.  All ages can enjoy visiting the museum." 

We began our trip to the museum in the most important place-the gift shop.  I did not buy paper or pens, my mother would be proud.  In fact I didn't buy anything-at first.  I just wandered to see what kind of lovely wares were available for purchase.  I had specifically saved the majority of my spending money for the museum.  Marines put their emblem on everything they own and apparently their proud wives are no different.  (I'm kinda surprised I don't have an EGA tattooed on my butt or something. Maybe I need to go check that out in the mirror just to be sure... By the way, EGA stands for Eagle, Globe and Anchor which is the Marine Corps emblem.)  I found many, many things I would love to have.  I wanted to ponder my choices so we went to view the gallery.

The gallery is divided into different exposure points: The Legacy Walk (a quick view approach to the museum), Making Marines (a trip through boot camp), American Revolution, Global Expeditionary Force, World War I, World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam.  Each exhibit tells the Marine Corps story through pictures, videos, sound clips, and artifacts.  In the Making Marines exhibit there are videos of recruits getting off the bus standing on the yellow footprints, you can step into a sound booth and hear the drill instructor yell at you as if you were a recruit (flash backs anyone?), you can try to pick up the weight of a recruit's or Marine's pack, you can attempt to do a pull-up, and you can even visit the range.  I was unable to shoot at the range because the attendant was out to lunch, but on our next trip to the museum I plan to visit the range.  If you shoot expert at the range you can get a special coin from the museum gift shop.  We will need to dedicate an entire day to visiting the museum.  There was just too much to see and experience.

I think I really enjoyed the Vietnam exhibit the most.  You enter it by walking through a helo.  You had to watch your head, and the floor of the helo vibrated like I imagine a real one does, and then you entered a hot LZ (landing zone).  You heard the yelling, shooting, and felt the chaos of battle.  I was mesmerized.  It was at that particular exhibit that I made Dave get the camera out.  I can only imagine what it was actually like to experience Vietnam...or Iraq, or Afghanistan, or Arlington. 

Another thing I enjoyed about the museum is the age range of those visiting the museum.  From the older Marines all the way to the toddler age kiddos of Marines, and yes they do let in people with no USMC association too, lol.  There was something there to capture each age group.  I enjoyed watching the faces of the other museum patrons as well.  They were just as captivated as I was.

After our trip through the gallery we went up to Tun Tavern to grab a drink and a bottle of Jarhead Red.  Jarhead is another nickname for Marines (and not one they are particularly fond of).  Jarhead Red is a wine produced by a fellow Marine to support Marines and their kiddos.  You can read all about it at their website Jarhead Wines

After our refreshing beverage we headed back to the museum shop.  I think I spent at least an hour in there debating and deciding what items to purchase for the grand total of $100.  Some of my favorites are my USMC Wife key chain that reads: "Once a Marine Wife, Always a Marine Wife" on once side and the other side says "Wives: The strongest love in the world comes from the most supportive and dedicated women.  Those women are Marine wives.  Semper Fidelis." and is surrounded by the words "God Bless our Husbands."  Wives are proud too, ok?  I also purchased a ton of bumper stickers, a deck of cards, two rocks glasses with the EGA, a Tervis Tumbler with the EGA and lid (this is my new favorite cup), a coffee mug for Dave with the EGA, and a recipe for a Marine wife (I know what it takes, but it was cute to see a specific recipe).

Our time in pics:

You can explore more of the National Museum of the Marine Corps by clicking here to see their website.