Site/Museum: National Museum of the Marine Corps
Pros: Possibly the finest convergence of material culture, interpretation and legitimately awe-inspiring exhibit design to date. This place has it all: a superb collection that tells the story of the Marine Corps from beginning to present, a well thought out design, and exhibits that may leave you with a tear in your eye.
Cons: Hard to come up with much to legitimately criticize. The discerning historian was impressed.
In Depth: Walking into this museum evokes both the sense of walking into a spacious aircraft hangar and cathedral at the same time. It is both utilitarian and awe-inspiring design and fits the intended use of the structure.
Architecturally speaking, the building which is situated along I-95, is designed to represent the iconic flag raising at Iwo Jima – and this is one of the rare examples of symbolic architecture that doesn’t fail!
The galleries are equally as impressive. Somehow the designers of this museum just blow other museums like it out of the water. They seamlessly blend loads of material culture (i.e. the “stuff” of museums) with great interpretation. The Iwo Jima exhibit may be the finest example of that.
Visitors load onto a virtual land boat with video screens describing the experience and showing a first-person view – and when the doors open to “land” you are presented with an exhibit on the landing, you are greeted by an actual Iwo veteran, and you see one of the flags from the iconic flag raising image. Its the type of exhibit people dream their whole lives about designing – and this museum has several just like it.
I think Ronald Reagan said it best,
Some people spend their whole lives wondering if they made a difference. The Marines don’t have that problem.
Both in battle – and yes – the retelling of those stories the Marines certainly don’t have that problem.
Breakdown:Based on a scale of 5 Lincoln’s
Quality of Resource: 5/5 Lincoln’s
Quality of Interpretation: 5/5 Lincoln’s
Friendliness of Staff: 5/5 Lincoln’s
Value: 5/5 Lincoln’s (Did I mention its FREE?)
OVERALL RATING: 5/5 Lincoln’s.
Final Thought: This may be the best museum in America right now. If you could only visit one museum next year, I think this must be on your short list.