DUMFRIES, Virginia — After temporarily closing its doors nearly three months ago, the National Museum for the Marine Corps will re-open to the public on April 1, 2016 at 9 a.m.
Visitors will discover a recently restored World War II SBD Dauntless dive bomber and Vietnam-era Sikorsky UH-34D helicopter which were installed during the closure. The Dauntless now hangs from the soaring glass of the Museum's central gallery, while the UH-34D is positioned in a ground-level display recreating a scene of Marines disembarking under enemy fire.
"Every Marine who walks through our doors deserves to see a piece of their story told in the Museum," said Lin Ezell, director of the Museum. "The addition of these historic aircraft furthers the Museum's efforts to more completely represent the entire history of the Marine Corps."
The Museum's re-opening is a significant benchmark in the campaign to complete the Museum. The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation broke ground on the construction of the Museum's Final Phase last March. An additional 117,000 square feet of physical space will be built to make room for two historical galleries depicting the service of the men and women who served in the Marine Corps from 1976 through present day. The space will also include a giant-screen theater, expanded education suite and Children's Gallery, a Sports Gallery, Art Gallery, Hall of Valor and more. The construction is scheduled to be finished in 2017, with galleries beginning to open the same year. All exhibitions are expected to be completed in 2020.
"The Museum team did a remarkable job restoring these Marine aircraft and bringing them to life for future visitors from across this region and around the world," remarked LtGen Robert R. Blackman, Jr., president and CEO of the Foundation. "What we were able to accomplish during this closure is a reminder of the work we have yet to do on behalf of those Marines who have served since the Vietnam War, and the importance of ensuring we complete this mission."
After the April 1 re-opening, the Museum will resume its normal schedule, welcoming visitors 9 a.m. - 5 p.m., every day of the year except December 25. Visitors will also enjoy free parking and admission.