News: Marine Corps museum staff visits Okinawa
Story by Pfc. Terence Brady
If the past holds the key to the future, museums are gate keepers to building a better tomorrow. The Marine Corps demonstrates an institutional belief in this principle by working hand-in-hand with the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation to preserve and celebrate the history of the Marine Corps at the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
Representatives from the museum visited Okinawa on Dec. 3-7 as part of an effort to record the history of the battle that took place on the island, including visiting the Battle of Okinawa Historical display at Camp Kinser on Dec. 4.
The museum, based in Quantico, Va., continues to expand its collection, and in its final state will display more than 200 years of Marine Corps history and lore.
“Ever since the museum opened in 2006, we have made it our mission to track down and ensure the preservation of all Marine Corps history,” said Owen Connor, a uniforms curator for the museum. “Making sure the stories and historical items are not lost to time is our ultimate goal.”
The representatives visited battle sites across Okinawa in addition to the historical display to assess historical items, gauge the preservation of historical sites on Okinawa and record the history of the battle.
“We are looking to enhance the World War II section of the museum,” said Connor. “We want to make the galleries more immersive to allow people to have an idea of what it felt like to be at the battles.”
Most people who visit the museum will not have the chance to visit Okinawa and see the sites firsthand, therefore it is imperative that everything at the exhibit accurately represent the historical events it portrays, Connor added.
One of the most difficult aspects of the museum’s mission is that the museum cannot actively ask for war relics.
“We are essentially dependent on the efforts and donations of people willing to support us,” said Stefan J. Rohal, a registrar for the museum “The World War II generation is passing on, and it is increasingly hard for us to acquire items from that generation.
“The most important thing for us is to help preserve the Marine Corps history,” said Rohal. “The museum exists to tell their story in its entirety.”
Telling this story provides the public, the current generation of Marines and all generations to follow with a readily accessible platform for the exploration of Marine Corps history and a foundation with which to build its future.