There are eight galleries to go through (they really use the space they have really well):
The Legacy Walk connects the various era galleries and is the main pathway through the Museum. For visitors with only a limited time to tour the museum, the Legacy Walk provides a quick introduction to more than two centuries of Marine Corps history. Dramatic vignettes bring to life scenes of Marines in action from colonial times through the current war on terror.
Follow new recruits from their induction through the 12 weeks of boot camp. This gallery explains how the Marine Corps transforms raw recruits from ordinary citizens into elite warriors. In Making Marines, visitors can experience a motivational speech from a Drill Instructor, heft a fully loaded pack, and test their aim on the M-16 Laser Rifle Range.
This gallery explores the first century of the Marine Corps from the creation of the Marine Corps at a tavern in Philadelphia by members of the Continental Congress through the combat actions of Marines on both sides of the American Civil War. Specific exhibits study the Marine’s role in the War of 1812, the Mexican War, and the Corps’ efforts to combat pirates and slave traders on the high seas.
Global Expeditionary Force
First to Fight follows the Marines into Latin America and across the Pacific to the Far East as part of the expansion of American interests. This gallery also highlight’s the “President’s Own” – the USMC Band and its rise to international fame under the directorship of John Philip Sousa from 1880 to 1892.
World War I
During the spring and summer of 1918, the German Supreme Command planned to take Paris and win World War I. Standing in their way stood the USMC. The Marines fought the advancing Germans using everything from aircraft to their bare knuckles and succeeded in stopping the German advance - helping end the bloody carnage of World War I.
World War II
From the attack on Pearl Harbor to the occupation of the Japanese homeland, Uncommon Valor highlights the heroic efforts of Marines on the ground and in the air during World War II. The gallery is populated with period aircraft, tanks and weapons. Visitors board a Higgins Boat for their assault on Iwo Jima. An exhibit on the experience of American POWs closes the gallery with a very human look at the cost of war.
Send in the Marines explores the “forgotten war” in Korea. Coming only five years after the end of World War II, the Korean War marked a watershed for the Marine Corps and saw the first use of USMC helicopters and jet powered aircraft in combat. Special exhibits explore the desperate defense of the Pusan Perimeter, the bold landings at Inchon, the bitter fight around the Chosin Reservoir, and the “see-saw” battles for control for the city of Seoul.
The Marine Corps fought in Vietnam from 1965 through 1975 – longer than in any other conflict. This gallery brings to life horrific scenes of close combat and small moments of compassion on the field of battle at such places as Howard’s Hill, Marble Mountain, Quang Nam, Khe Sanh, and Dong Ha. Wall murals and dioramas deliver stories about combat operations, significant contributions to the war, individual Marines, special units, morale, and air support.