|03-20-2006, 06:34 AM||#1 (permalink)|
MSgt USMC Ret
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: San Diego
National Marine Corps museum takes steps toward completion
MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. (March 16, 2006) -- The National Museum of the Marine Corps’ glass rotunda and steel mast shines above the tree line along Interstate 95 as it nears completion.
The museum’s architecture is a dramatic design by Curtis Fentress of the architectural firm Fentress Bradburn, representing the raising of the flag over Mount Suribachi at Iwo Jima. Upon opening day the museum will have around 100,000 square feet with the possibility for expansion up to 230,000 square feet.
The construction of the museum is about 85 percent complete.
The skylight is done, the scaffolding is at the top of the mast, and the mast will soon have its stainless steel cladding, said retired Col. Joseph Long, deputy director of the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
“In two months, the cladding will cover the entire mast from the floor beneath the skylight, ascending 210 feet to the museum’s pinnacle,” Long said.
The museum’s marble stonework is about 70 percent complete and is on track to be finished in April. Installing the terrazzo floor for Leatherneck Gallery, the main display area, will begin this week and is expected to conclude at the end of a 10- to 13-week process.
On the second floor of the museum is the mess hall, kitchen, and a replica of Tun Tavern, Pa., where the Marine Corps was born. These areas are slated for completion by the end of May.
“The entire inside of the building is on schedule to be finished by the end of May,” Long said. “The construction will then be concentrated on the outside paving, landscaping, and sidewalks until opening day on November 10.”
Construction is also underway on Semper Fidelis Park, which will house a series of trails and walkways lined with the bricks sold by the Heritage Foundation. A brick can be bought for $300 to pay tribute or memorialize a family member or friend’s name.
After the end of May, when the focus of the construction is on the surrounding outside areas, the National Museum of the Marine Corps will begin to bring the inside to life with the detailed exhibits of the history of the Marine Corps.
They will hang more vehicle exhibits in Leatherneck Gallery along with more than 1,700 photographs and text graphics throughout the museum. There will also be audio visual displays, flat screen TVs and theatrical lighting.
Charles Paul Barker, a subcontracted muralist working on numerous exhibits, finds himself reconnecting with his past when working on this project. Barker joined the Marine Corps near the end of the Vietnam War. He had just finished college and became an infantry officer.
“Many of the exhibits are on Vietnam, so I am able to draw from memory to make them accurate in detail,” Barker said. “There’s definitely a lot of nostalgia here for me.”
Barker is painting several other murals including scenes from Quang Nam, where Barker spent time in Vietnam, Peleiu from World War II, Korea, the Tet Offensive at Hue City and another, depicting Marine life during the Korean War.
“I’ve spent most of my time on the Hill 881 scene,” Barker said. “It’s going to be a complete environment and has to be really accurate since there are close to 400 survivors who will be able to recognize at once if the scenery is incorrect.”
In researching for the project, Barker took time to contact veterans to obtain accurate descriptions of what it looked liked to be there.
“Contacting all the veterans was truly memorable,” Barker said. “They brought a great deal to my work.”
James Sturgill, a steelworker working to complete the museum, plans to bring his three teenage boys on a trip to the museum for opening day along with the estimated 30,000 opening day visitors.
“One of the best parts of the job is being able to know I was part of creating such a great building,” Sturgill said. “It’s totally awesome. The Marines should be truly proud of this building.”
|completion, corps, marine, museum, national, steps, takes|
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