The mission of the Museum of the Marine is to memorialize the contributions of the Marines and Sailors who have served in the Carolinas since 1941 with the same level of honor and commitment as they so gallantly served our nation; and to fully appreciate the host communities who have stood side-by-side in support of them and their families.
“Why are you committed to building this museum?” “Why in the world would anyone build a Marine Corps museum in Jacksonville, North Carolina when the incomparable National Museum of the Marine Corps already exists right up the I-95 corridor in Quantico, Virginia?” “Aren’t you replicating a masterpiece?”
These are among the most frequently asked questions we have fielded though the years.
And here is the answer: The Museum of the Marine will celebrate the rich and remarkable history of the Carolina Marines—a story not recounted elsewhere, not even in the National Museum of the Marine Corps. In that sense, our story is unique, our museum is entirely complementary, neither duplicative, nor redundant.
Indeed, the many “Why?” questions underscore the importance of this undertaking, as they disclose a widespread underappreciation, even among seasoned Marines and their Sea Service brethren, of the truly remarkable innovations, the almost innumerable Marine Corps “firsts” that have originated in the Carolinas, home, since the eve of the Second World War, of the Carolina Marine Air/Ground (and Logistics) Task Force—in Marine Corps parlance, the vaunted “Carolina MAGTF” (pronounced, “mag-taf”). We invite you to view our 6 minute video, “Long Live the Legends,” to appreciate the scope of our museum.
What was initially conceived to be a museum honoring the storied Second Marine Division (the ground combat element of the Carolina MAGTF) eventually gave way to a larger story, a fascinating story of the origins and evolution of the entire Marine Air/Ground Task Force, born and bred, cultivated, refined, and home based in North and South Carolina. If the Marine Corps-specific acronym, MAGTF, were universally known and understood, we might well have called this the Carolina MAGTF Museum.
But even that title might have been a bit too narrow. To be sure, the Museum of the Marine will capture and portray the history of the Carolina MAGTF, practiced in peacetime, proven many times over in virtually “every clime and place.” But it will also recount—and this, to us, is quite significant–the story of the host communities that have evolved hand in hand with their colorful, sometimes boisterous, but always “first to fight,” “Soldiers of the Sea,” while embracing, safeguarding, and taking special care of their families. So, what was once envisioned to be a museum honoring the Second Marine Division, eventually grew conceptually to embrace the entire Carolina MAGTF, to include the bases and stations and host communities inextricably part of MAGTF history.
Accordingly, for a number of years (1999-2012) we were known as the Marine Corps Museum of the Carolinas, a name familiar to many who still refer to us as such. We were quite happy with that descriptive title. In time, however, we were persuaded that a museum “of the Carolinas” might pose a challenge to our fundraising efforts, assuming, as we do, that our 40,000 square foot museum will need to attract the attention and interest and funding of sources well beyond, as well as within, the Carolinas. That consideration brought about the evolution to our current identity as the Museum of the Marine, superimposed above the three descriptive and thematic C’s, Communities, Carolinas, and Corps.
So, why are we building a museum? Because the proud, distinctive history of the Carolina Marines and Sailors is a compelling story that needs to be told. If we don’t tell it, people will forget.
Preserving the heritage of the legendary Marines who served in the Carolinas requires a special level of honor and commitment from teams of dedicated supporters just like you. As a private 501(C)(3) organization, the Museum of the Marine relies solely on ongoing donations for all operating expenses and building costs. Become a part of the living legacy that is the Museum of the Marine and help preserve the rich history that is so firmly rooted in the communities of the Carolinas.
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