What not to Miss at the US Marine Corp Museum

What not to Miss at the US Marine Corp Museum

The Marine Corps Museum holds a special place in my heart. It is an expansive facility that covers the history and tradition of the United States Marine Corps. I was fortunate enough to serve on the executive committee Prince William Chamber of Commerce, which allowed me to watch the process of building and opening this facility. There is so much to see and explore; it can be challenging to know where to start. Here are some must-see exhibits and attractions not to miss during your visit to the Marine Corps Museum.


Leatherneck Gallery

The Leatherneck Gallery is the centerpiece of the museum’s historical collection. It covers the story of the Marine Corps from the American Revolution to the Korean War. The gallery features an impressive collection of artifacts, including weapons, uniforms, and personal items used by Marines throughout history. Visitors can also see displays that recreate famous battles, such as the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima.

Combat Art Gallery

The Combat Art Gallery is a unique exhibit showcasing the work of Marine Corps artists who have captured the essence of combat. The gallery features over 400 pieces ranging from sketches to large oil paintings. As a result, visitors can gain an appreciation for the power of art to convey the experiences of soldiers in the field.

Medal of Honor Theater

The Medal of Honor Theater is a 128-seat theater that shows a 10-minute film about the history and significance of the Medal of Honor. The film features footage of actual Medal of Honor recipients and their heroic deeds. As a result, visitors can gain an understanding of the bravery and sacrifice of Marines who have earned this highest military honor.

Outdoor Exhibits

The museum’s outdoor exhibits are not to be missed, including a full-scale replica of the famous Iwo Jima Memorial, a Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and an aircraft park with over 20 aircraft on display. Visitors can also explore the outdoor trails and the WWI battlefields, and the Korean War Memorial.



Gift Shop

No trip to the Marine Corps Museum is complete without a visit to the gift shop. The store features an extensive collection of Marine Corps merchandise, including clothing, books, and souvenirs. Visitors can find a unique and meaningful gift to commemorate their visit.

New Exhibits

Construction has concluded on a new wing, part of the Final Phase of the museum’s long-term plan to cover its entire history. This third major addition will be home to galleries chronicling the Marine Corps from 1976 to the present, including such operations as Beirut, Somalia, humanitarian efforts, 9/11, Iraq and Afghanistan, and more. Planning has been underway for this addition ever since the second phase, which told the story of the birth of the Marine Corps in 1776 up to World War II, was completed in 2010. (The museum originally opened with just the World War II, Korea, and Vietnam exhibits.) Though galleries for Final Phase aren’t open yet, visitors can peek in and see exhibits in progress. There are currently four active-duty Marines assigned to the museum, and they sometimes work on this project as well as interact with visitors. In the meantime, visitors who want to see something new can view a temporary exhibit on Marines in space. The first American astronauts were recruited from the military, and Marine Lieutenant Colonel John Glenn was among the Mercury Seven. The exhibit features Glenn’s uniform, artifacts such as the hook used to pull the Apollo 11 capsule out of the ocean, photos, and personal stories. You can see “Spaceflight: The Marine Astronauts” through January 2024.

The Marine Corps Museum is an incredible tribute to the history and tradition of the United States Marine Corps. With so much to see and explore, it’s important to plan your visit and prioritize the exhibits and attractions that are most important to you. 

Rebecca is the founder of Sightseeing Sidekick travel blog and the publisher of both a lifestyle and a bridal magazine. Living in Northern Virginia, she’s a 50+ mother and grandmother who started travel blogging to share her “new to her” experiences as she has more time to travel. She hopes to “inspire women who previously may not have been able to travel due to career or family obligations to plan, sightsee, and create memories.” You can follow her on FacebookInstagramPinterest, and YouTube