Two new and big aircraft are expected to go on display at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in the Triangle area of Virginia, as the museum is undergoing an expansion.
That means the museum will have to close for three months starting early next year.
The museum plans to add a restored World War II SBD Dauntless dive bomber and a Sikorsky helicopter from the Vietnam era. The museum is expected to close from Jan. 4 through the end of March. Its outdoor grounds, including the Semper Fidelis Memorial Park, will remain open to visitors.
The free museum, which opened in 2006, is located in Prince William County and sits near the Marine Corps base at Quantico. It draws more than 500,000 visitors each year. The museum is known for its tilted spire that can be seen from Interstate 95, and it has been undergoing an expansion over the last few years that will double its size.
Officials said the museum aims to cover the story of the Marines from the Vietnam War through the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Charles Grow, the museum’s deputy director who is a retired Marine captain and combat artist, has said, “We’re building the next half.” He said the museum site is a circle, and “we’re completing the circle.”
The work at the museum is part of a $104 million project that is paid for by the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation.
Many military-related museums have been trying to make their exhibits more entertaining and interactive as they try to attract visitors and compete with amusement and theme parks, according to experts.
The Marine Corps museum recently added a logbook from the Iraq war’s second battle of Fallujah as part of an exhibit. That exhibit is set to open next year. The logbook was kept as a record of those killed in the battle in 2004.
Staff writer Michael E. Ruane contributed to this report.