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Artifacts were gathered to be displayed at the Onslow County Museum for their “Camp Lejeune: Remembering the 40s” exhibit, Saturday. The grand opening of the gallery will start at 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. hosted by The Onslow County Board of Commissioners and The Onslow County Museum Foundation, incorporate.

Photo by Pfc. Nik S. Phongsisattanak

1940s Camp Lejeune to be remembered

13 Jan 2012 | Pfc. Nik S. Phongsisattanak

From the moment Marines stood on those yellow footprints at recruit training to the day they retire after years of honorable service, they are taught to remember and live the traditions that have shaped the Marine Corps to make it what it is today.

Marine Corps tradition and history run parallel with each other, which is why Marines look to the past to find answers to how some of the traditions started.

The Onslow County Museum will be presenting their “Camp Lejeune: Remembering the 40s” exhibit hosted by The Onslow County Board of Commissioners and The Onslow County Museum Foundation, incorporate, to offer a glimpse of what Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune was like in the 1940s.

The grand opening is scheduled for Saturday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in Richlands.

“This exhibit has been years in the making,” said Lisa Whitman - Grice, director of the Onslow County Museum.  “We sat down almost eight years ago and laid out our exhibit schedule. We knew this exhibit was coming, so we’ve been preparing for it by looking for the right artifacts that would help tell this story.”

Photographic images and artifacts such as uniforms and rifles will be on display. Patricia M. Hughey, collections manager with the museum, contacted people in the community who she knew might have pieces for the exhibit, and she found some of the pieces online. 

The assembly of the gallery began more than a month ago. The gallery has been repainted, banners have been hung and the display cases have been built. According to Whitman - Grice, the arrangement has been setup and for the first time, there will be a video component included in the exhibit.

“We’re going off a little the original date of the grand opening, but it’s also allowed us to find a few more things to improve the exhibit and we’re happy with what we have,” said Whitman - Grace.

The gallery is meant to be a general overview of the 40s, not an all-encompassing history of the base.

Hughey spoke about veterans who always visit the museum to share stories of how the base used to be.

“A lot of the veterans are in the local area. We just want to get them out and come in to do some reminiscing with us,” said Hughey.

Hughey and Whitman - Grice were the driving force and team of two who worked to seek out the artifacts and set up the exhibit. They spoke about history with a passion that could draw the interest of anyone.

“It’s public history,” said Hughey. “We like to share with everyone else what we think are exciting and interesting stories of our past. It is about dates, but it’s not. You need to know what the date is, but you also need to know what really cool thing happened on that date. We hope all the Marines pay us a visit. We have people come here from all over the world visiting, and we have the privilege of talking to them.”

Onslow County Museum is located at 301 South Wilmington Street, Richlands. Invited guests are asked to RSVP. For more information call 324-5008 or e-mail