Nestled in Northern Virginia between Interstate 95 and Marine Corps Base Quantico is the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Opened in 2006 after two years of construction, the impressive building and exhibits therein, detail the history of the Marines from their founding up to the present-day conflicts. In fact new exhibits about the latest combat operations are currently in the works.
As early as November 10, 1775, the American colonies saw a need for a marine contingent. “RESOLVED, THAT TWO BATTALIONS of Marines be raised…so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve to advantage by sea…” was how the Continental Congress expressed their need. The Marines made an early impact on the American Revolution, splashing ashore in the Bahamas three months before the Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia. Although during the American Revolution the Marines were referred to as Continental Marines, similar to the Continental Army and Navy, the formal establishment or “a corps of marines” did not happen to late in the 1790s.
On July 11, 1798, the United States passed “An Act for the establishing and organizing a Marine Corps” when that body created the Navy Department. The ink was barely dry on the parchment when Marines started manning battle stations on U.S. Navy frigates protecting American shipping on the high seas.
The exhibits dedicated to the American Revolutionary Era are just one small segment of the overall museum, the collection of artifacts and informational panels provide clarity and depth to this proud military organization.
A few of the pictures in this post highlight the breadth of exhibits and also the other tangibles present when one visits this proud institution. Open daily, the museum is free to the public and to fully see the collections and soak in the amazing history, a visit of a few hours is needed. More information on the museum can be found here.