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Marine museum advances
Update on the National Museum of the Marine Corps

 The National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico is under construction and is scheduled to open in November. A grand central gallery, or the Leatherneck Gallery, houses several airplanes, the highest hanging about 75 feet above the floor.
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Date published: 7/19/2006


Stepping into the main gallery, a visitor's eyes are drawn skyward.

Authentic war planes, with lifelike figures in the cockpit, fill the 210-foot Leatherneck Gallery.

"This is gonna be fun," said retired Marine Col. Ray Hord. "This is not just a stodgy old place to look at things behind glass."

Hord is vice president of development and marketing with the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation and yesterday led a tour of the National Museum of the Marine Corps going up off Interstate 95 at the Quantico Marine Corps Base.

Construction of the exterior is complete along with the spire that is meant to symbolize the raising of the flag at Iwo Jima. Exhibits and audio visual equipment are now being installed.

The museum is scheduled to be dedicated Nov. 10 and will open to the public Nov. 12.

Yesterday, he briefed members of the media on the museums offerings, which will feature interactive and immersion exhibits.

When the museum opens, visitors can catch a 12-minute orientation video about what to expect as they explore the exhibits. After watching the video, the experience begins.

The first exhibit will provide a glimpse of reality for one considering joining the Marines. When completed, automated drill sergeants will bark out orders and direct visitors through the stations.

An interactive igloo will let you stand at attention and experience inspection day to find out "just how many things are wrong with you," Hord said.

Visitors will also be able to test their marksman skills on the range by taking aim at the target with a laser rifle.

Admission to the museum is free, but the rifle range and air craft simulations will cost visitors a fee that supports museum operations.

Visitors short on time will be able to peruse Legacy Walk, a corridor lined with artifacts and audiovisual presentations that give a swift, but thorough history of the Marine Corps.

But, for those who can spend the entire day, there will be galleries dedicated to World War II, Korea and Vietnam. These eras were chosen, Hord said, because "they represent the living veteran constituency that made that history."

A vintage Japanese kamikaze plane marks the entrance to the World War II gallery.

Once inside, visitors will hear a recording of Franklin D. Roosevelt's radio address about the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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