RICHLANDS, N.C. -- The "Remembering Camp Davis and Camp Lejeune" display located at the Richlands Museum Changing Gallery officially opened Nov. 5 at the Museum Fest held for the 24th consecutive year here.
Colonel Mark T. Goodman, the assistant chief of staff for Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, did the honors at a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the official opening of the exhibit. The ceremony commemorates the history of the military, in particular the Marine Corps in the Onslow County area.
Food stands selling hot dogs, pizza and Southern delicacies lined nearby Wilmington Street while live music featuring local bands also played at the event. About 15,000 people were in attendance, according to Museum Director Albert Potts of Jacksonville, N.C.
At the first-floor exhibit, visitors to the museum can have a pictorial glimpse of military memorabilia along with the building and engineering of Camp Davis and Camp Lejeune during the first days of construction.
According to Potts, the bases have played a significant role in the population and economic growth of Onslow and surrounding counties.
"The city of Jacksonville had a population of about 870 before Camp Lejeune was built in the 1940s. Now more than 41,000 servicemembers work on the base alone. They're a big boost for the local economy," said Potts who has worked at the museum since it opened 25 years ago.
Camp Davis, formerly located on U.S. Highway 17 near Camp Lejeune, was the home base for more than 60,000 soldiers during World War II but was dismantled after the end of the war in 1945.
"My favorite part of this event is that it brings the community together and at the same time we are remembering the important military presence here," said Tarawa Terrace I Seven-Day-Store worker Dan Scott.
The county-funded exhibit will be opened at the museum until April.