10 September 2008

National Museum of the Marine Corps Thrives

BUSINESS WIRE --Amidst celebrations for the millionth visitor and continuing rave reviews from visitors, the National Museum of the Marine Corps and Marine Corps Heritage Foundation announce expansion plans. The announcement comes after the release of results from a visitors’ survey made available through the American Association for State & Local History. The survey found that the National Museum of the Marine Corps exceeded results of the top three museums previously measured in the AASLH survey in overall visitor experience, visitor expectations, impact, value, visitor return, visitor recommendation and reputation.

The Museum will soon expand to include three additional galleries with exhibits interpreting the periods from 1775 through World War 1. The galleries will feature immersive experiences for which the Museum is world-renowned. Construction on the new galleries will begin in October with the opening expected in the spring of 2010.

The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s fundraising campaign to complete the Museum is also under way. New components that the Foundation and its supporters will fund include over 80,000 square feet of additional historical galleries, a large-screen theater, a permanent art gallery and artist studios, a performance space, classrooms and a display-storage gallery for many artifacts currently not accessible to the public.

With funding provided by the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation and its supporters, the adjacent Semper Fidelis Memorial Park also continues to expand. Additional trails and overlooks are already lined with 10,000 commemorative bricks and another 2,000 are reserved for new trail segments. Memorial benches and monuments will be installed in the next phase of development, along with the construction of a new chapel slated to begin in October. The nondenominational chapel will be a quiet,contemplative space where visitors can remember the sacrifices of Marines. Designed by Fentress Architects, the structure will evoke images and memories of improvised field chapels familiar to combat Marines.

In the less than two years since dedication, the Museum has become recognized as a top Virginia destination for families across the region and throughout the nation. Recent surveys found that 75% of visitors to the Museum were from outside the state of Virginia.

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