The National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle will reopen to the public on May 17 after being closed due to the pandemic.
Museum officials say face coverings must be worn by all visitors over the age of 6, and are highly recommended for children between the ages of 2 to 6. All staff and volunteers are also required to wear face coverings and will be walking throughout the museum to answer questions and ensure proper social distancing.
If a gallery or exhibit area is crowded, visitors are encouraged to return to that area when it’s less crowded, museum officials said in a news release.
There will also be capacity limits. Once the safe capacity is reached, visitors will need to wait until others exit. While waiting, visitors may enjoy a walk through the Semper Fidelis Memorial Park with its monuments which honor Marine Corps organizations and those who served in them, the release said.
Hand sanitation stations are positioned throughout the museum and visitors are encouraged to use them often. The restrooms are cleaned regularly throughout the day, ensuring that soap dispensers are always filled and high touch areas are disinfected. Water fountains are turned off but visitors may bring in an unopened, clear 20-ounce water bottle.
Some areas of the museum will remain temporarily closed for the safety of visitors. Touch screens will be available but some other interactives will remain closed for now. The Children’s Gallery is currently closed.
There's still plenty to see at the museum, including the extension of Legacy Walk, the timeline leading to the exhibit galleries. The exhibits tell Marine Corps stories of humanitarian efforts, special duties, Marine families, 9/11, and the ultimate sacrifice.
Stories of sacrifice are the theme of “In the Highest Tradition–WWII Medal of Honor Art: Paintings by Col Charles H. Waterhouse, USMCR (Ret),” in the museum’s Combat Art Gallery on the second deck. The art exhibit presents portraits and paintings of WWII Medal of Honor recipients created by Waterhouse to document their self-sacrificing deeds.
World War II heroes are also honored in the museum’s expanded Navajo Code Talkers exhibit. The exhibit features interviews with Navajo Code Talkers, an explanation of the spoken code as well as the importance and deployment of the code. Within this exhibit are artifacts including a radio and headset used by Code Talkers, and one of the Congressional Gold Medals awarded to the Code Talkers.
Visitors will also see the progress being made on the Final Phase project. While the completion of these galleries is a few years away, visitors can now see macro artifacts in place, walls going up and, soon, work on the exhibit fabrication. These new galleries will take visitors to Somalia, Beirut, Desert Shield/Desert Storm, and into Iraq and Afghanistan.
Scuttlebutt Theater, Tun Tavern, the Medal of Honor Theater, and the gift shop will be open to visitors as well.
For more information about the Museum’s reopening protocols, frequently asked questions and more, visit www.usmcmuseum.com/covid-19.