The Few, the Proud

by | Mar 27, 2024 | Onslow County, Tourism

Carolina Museum of the Marine is set to break ground in nearby Jacksonville this May.

Honoring the service of the Carolina Marines and Sailors and seeking to engage and inspire up-and-coming generations, the Carolina Museum of the Marine at Lejeune Memorial Gardens near Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune seeks to pass on the problem-solving skills, leadership and lessons that are integral to the Marines via its soon-to-be-under-construction museum.

Image provided by Appelbaum and Associates

Image provided by Appelbaum and Associates

After years of preparation, planning and fundraising, the Carolina Museum of the Marine is slated to break ground at a public ceremony on May 17 at 8:30 am, with a completion date scheduled for February 2026 followed by an opening that spring.

In late 2021 the State of North Carolina granted the nonprofit organization $26 million toward the development of its 25,000-square-foot facility. Further building upon that sum, the local government and museum board of directors and staff are teaming up with benefactors to continue funding the operation during its construction — and after its debut to the public.

US Marines Museum Jacksonville NC

“I am proud of the work the state and local officials in North Carolina are doing to show the public the valiant and honorable history of our United States Marines through the Carolina Museum of the Marine,” said General Eric Smith, assistant commandant of the Marine Corps in an August 2023 press release. “Camp Lejeune is fortunate to be a part of Jacksonville and the surrounding communities.”

Upon its opening, the museum, situated at Lejeune Memorial Gardens, will beckon the more than 138,000 Marines, Sailors and Coast Guard members in the area — reminding them of memories and lessons of leadership — while inviting in loved ones, history buffs and visitors to witness and learn about the sacrifices made by these service people.

Image provided by Appelbaum and Associates.

Image provided by Appelbaum and Associates.

The museum’s location carries meaning via the nearby Camp Lejeune and its role in World War II as the largest Marine Corps Base on the East Coast.

“We are developing a building and exhibits that will embody the experiences and stories of Carolina Marines and how they have dedicated their lives to the service of their country,” shares General Kevin Stewart, CEO of the museum. “We are telling a more personal story — one that explores how that dedication is formed and manifested in defending our country and engaging in humanitarian efforts — and how qualities such as innovation, adaptability and connection to family and community are part of the fabric of what we can all aspire to be.”

Marines Museum Jacksonville NC

The exhibits are set up to showcase tales of Carolina Marine members spanning the 1940s to today via engaging displays, reimagined experiences and opportunities for reflection.

“We will showcase the Marine example to inspire future generations,” Stewart says. “Through this, we will prepare our young people to lead, follow and embrace future challenges.”

Stewart adds, “Marines and Sailors are your brother, daughter, father, mother and friend. We cannot let the stories of these men and women disappear over time. This is our opportunity to preserve the history of the Carolina Marines and Sailors for future generations.”

Beyond an engaging educational and connection opportunity, the Carolina Museum of the Marine will serve as a multipurpose venue for military balls, promotion and retirement events, weddings and an array of other public and private occasions.

Want to learn more?
The museum and its mission to “Meet the Marine” and “Be Inspired” visit

About the author

Anna Beth Adcock

Anna Beth Adcock

Anna Beth Adcock A North Carolina native, I grew up in small-town Sanford before moving to Raleigh to attend N.C. State University. Last year, I lived overseas in Bangkok, Thailand, just recently returning to reside in the City of Oaks. From numerous nostalgic summers at the N.C. coast with my family growing up to spending tons of time in Wilmington visiting family and friends, I love our state's coastal region! In addition to penning articles for Carolina Marketing Company, I work as an editorial assistant with Raleigh Magazine, teach fitness classes and work with a nonprofit ministry. When I'm not working, you can find me out for a run, grabbing coffee with a friend or seeking out my next travel or outdoor adventure. In short, I love writing, I love North Carolina and I love living life to the fullest!