Carolina Museum of the Marine and Al Gray Civic Institute Updates: Thank you, North Carolina!

NC Governor Roy Cooper signed the state’s biennium budget on 18 November 2021, a budget which includes $26M for the construction of Carolina Museum of the Marine and Al Gray Civic Institute. We thank Senator Mike Lazzara, Representatives George Cleveland, Pat McElraft and Phil Shepard. And we thank a large community of veterans, military retirees, business owners, public officials, and civic organizations who continually live the Marine Corps’ motto: Semper Fidelis!

How can you help? Your gifts, large or small, provide operating support as we enter the exciting construction phase and beyond. Contributions may be made online at Make a Donation

Watch this site for updates or sign up for our monthly newsletter by contacting us at

The Museum

Phase I of construction, Reflection and Celebration Park, dedicated on May 6, 2016, features the world’s largest bronze Eagle, Globe and Anchor sculpture, standing at a staggering 13 feet high with an 11 foot wingspread and weighing 2,500 pounds. Tribute bricks, available for purchase in honor or memory of loved ones and friends, line the Byrd Family Foundation’s Patriot Walkway in honor and memory of those who serve(d). 

Phase I also included the installation of the inground infrastructure for the Museum & Civic Institute as well as award-winning architectural designs and engineering plans.

Phase II is underway, with a campaign goal of $28M to build the 40,000 square foot museum and Civic Institute, and to design and install exhibits, classrooms and theaters, and immersive technology.  In addition to commemorating the legacy and the many firsts of the Marines and Sailors who serve(d) in the Carolinas, the Museum and Institute will host a variety of formal and informal events, from promotion, reenlistment and retirement ceremonies, to reunions, Marine Corps and Navy balls, educational workshops, leadership training, symposia, conferences, and other special offerings.  

Al Gray Civic Institute

General Al Gray, USMC (Ret) with Senator Mike Lazzara

Founded by 29th Commandant General Al Gray, USMC (Ret), Al Gray Civic Institute seeks to inspire principled, committed citizens by bringing together a strong cadre   of military and civilian leaders as teachers.  Our newest course, Critical Thinking for Leadership and Civic Engagement, launched in January 2019.  This immersive course teaches high school students and adults of all  ages how to think—not what to think.  Students engage in practical applications of critical thinking using current topics and gaining skills, such as clear communication, active listening, and decision-making.  

UNDERSTAND the concepts and ideals upon which our nation was founded,

APPRECIATE the history of our nation empowered by private energies and public responsibilities,

DEVELOP critical thinking skills that support civil discourse and effective civic participation,

RECOGNIZE AND RESPECT our differences while valuing what we all have in common as Americans,

CELEBRATE our enduring form of government and the individual freedoms that make it possible. 

Offerings under Development

  • The Founding Principles of the United States
  • Understanding the American Constitution
  • Development of the individual as an independent self-reliant citizen
  • How to research and discern facts from rhetoric
  • Leading Self, Leading Others
  • History of Political Thought and Economic Thought
  • Ethics at Home, School, and Work
  • The Houle School – summer fitness, civics and leadership programs for middle and high school students

Want to be a part of our exciting mission?  Contact our Executive Director, Ashley Danielson at 910-937-0033 extension 11 or by email at  Contributions may be made online at Make a Donation

Thank you for investing in the legacy!  


Join Our Mailing List. Never Miss An Update! Subscribe
© copyright 2021 - All Rights ReservedPrivacy Policy