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Karen Pence, second lady of the United States previews the National Museum of the Marine Corps' Combat Art Gallery exhibit with Lin Ezell, director of the National Museum of the Marine Corps July 6. The works represent Marine experiences around the globe by artists who used their talents to tell the story of their fellow Marines, based in part on their own experiences and perspectives. This first exhibition opened to the public July 9 and will be on display through April 2018.

Photo by Photo coutesy National Museum of the Marine Corps

Second Lady Karen Pence previews Museum's new Combat Art Gallery, now open to the public

24 Jul 2017 | National Museum of the Marine Corps staff and Defense Media Activity’s Marine Minute Marine Corps Base Quantico

Second Lady of the United States Karen Pence visited the National Museum of the Marine Corps July 6 to preview the new Combat Art Gallery, which opened to the public July 9.

“I think this gallery is amazing,” said Mrs. Pence. “When I’m around Marines it is so inspiring. And, to be here and see some of the struggles they go through, some of the special moments they have as a team, which you can see through the artwork, it makes me feel like I get a little window into what it’s like to be a Marine.”

The new Combat Art Gallery brings together fine art and Marine Corps history in its inaugural exhibit “Honor, Courage, Commitment: Marine Corps Art, 1975-2015.”

This first exhibition now on display in the gallery features 100 works by 22 artists and honors the Marines who have served in the Corps during the last 40 years. It echoes the core values of the Marine Corps: Honor, courage and commitment and is divided between three themes.

Every Clime and Place illustrates Marines as they conduct training and engage the enemy in a variety of settings and situations around the globe. No Better Friend, No Worse Enemy captures Marines meeting the enemy with unmatched ferocity and then rendering aid to civilians under the most dire of circumstances. The final theme, The Price, reminds us that war is all-consuming. Marines willingly accept the risks associated with their missions while families shoulder the burdens of uncertainty, loss and grief.

While it may seem odd to pair fine art with Marine Corps history, the Corps has actually been doing just that since WWI. Its informal association with art began when Col. John W. Thomason, Jr. produced a powerful series of battlefield sketches.

The official Marine Corps Combat Art Program began in 1942. Its mission was to keep Americans informed of their Marines’ actions overseas. The Program was disestablished after WWII, enjoyed a short rebirth during the Korean War, and was permanently established in 1966. Since that time, the Marine Corps Combat Art Collection has grown to include more than 9,000 works by more than 350 artists. The works represent Marine experiences around the globe by artists who used their talents to tell the story of their fellow Marines, based in part on their own experiences and perspectives.

Many of these works will be featured in future exhibitions in the Combat Art Gallery. The current collection “Honor, Courage, Commitment: Marine Corps Art 1975-2015” will be on display through April 2018. A new show highlighting WWI will open in June 2018.

The Combat Art Gallery is part of the museum’s 117,000 square foot “Final Phase” expansion which, when completed, will more than double the museum’s original size. The next exciting new part of the museum to open will be the Medal of Honor Theater, which opens to the public July 23.

The theater’s first presentation will be “We, The Marines,” which tells the story of the U.S. Marine Corps including its history and its ethos while showcasing the brave men and women that transform from recruits to top tier Marines, who remain Marines for a lifetime. It’s a true giant screen experience in sight and sound. Viewers are in for a treat as they can experience what it is like to jump out of an airplane, repel off a rock face, hear the roar of CH-53s and feel the rumble of the Howitzer fire in their chest in this giant screen film that is sure to inspire. The new Medal of Honor Theater is also part of the Museum’s expansion.

Slated to open at the museum in November is the new Education Suite and Children’s Gallery. Other coming attractions include historical galleries covering the Corps’ history from 1976 to the present (opening in 2018), the Hall of Valor and Marine Corps Sports Gallery and Hall of Fame (both coming in 2020), Inter-wars Gallery covering 1919-1940 and a Changing Exhibits Gallery (both coming in 2021).

The National Museum of the Marine Corps has welcomed more than 5 million visitors in its 10 year history. It is located at 18900 Jefferson Davis Hwy. in Triangle, Virginia, just around the corner from Marine Corps Base Quantico. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except Christmas Day. Admission and parking are free. For more information call 703-784-6107 or visit the museum website at www.usmcmuseum.com. On the website you will also be able to see some of the art on display in the new Combat Art Gallery.

(Source: National Museum of the Marine Corps staff and Defense Media Activity’s Marine Minute).


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