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Marine Corps Museum addition nearing completion

Iron Mike looks on as workers clean the spire at the National Museum of the Marine Corps at Quantico. [Mary Davidson]

QUANTICO, Va. — Workers spent the better part of Thursday morning cleaning the spire.

It was the first time the silver belfry, representing a flag pole from the iconic Iwo Jima raising of the flag photo captured during WWII, had been cleaned since the National Museum of the Marine Corps opened in 2006.

The museum is undergoing construction to complete the circular footprint of the building. The effort to “complete the circle” is in the final stages, and when construction is finished it will bring a new giant-screen theater, art gallery, exhibit galleries, classrooms, and lunchrooms to the expanding complex at Quantico.

The theater and the film it will feature will be big, according to a statement from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation:

While the completion dates of the Final Phase of the National Museum of the Marine Corps are not firm yet, the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation is very pleased to share that one of the first elements of the Final Phase, the Medal of Honor Theater, will open to the public this summer.

This new state-of-the-art, giant screen theater will showcase “We the Marines,” a powerful, 40-minute signature film that will immerse visitors in the experience of being a Marine – from boot camp to training at Marine Corps bases all over the world to being in combat and finally to homecoming.

The film is being produced by noted giant screen film producer MacGillivray Freeman Films. The 369-seat theater is sponsored by Lockheed Martin, and the film is sponsored by Boeing.

In addition to the theater, several new galleries will be added including a historical scene that will depict the Marine Corps from 1976 to present day, a combat art gallery and studio, a children’s art gallery with classrooms and lunchrooms, and a changing exhibits gallery that will allow the museum to showcase different items on a rotating basis.

The children’s gallery will come in handy for the summer camps hosted by the museum which focuses on aviation and history, said museum spokeswoman Gwenn Adams.

Once construction is complete this spring, the Northern Virginia firm Explus will arrive and begin fabricating displays for the new exhibits. Some of the work will involve making casts with Plaster of Paris of living Marines who served. 

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