Édouard Manet, The Battle of the USS Kearsarge and the CSS Alabama
Credit: The John G. Johnson Collection, Philadelphia Museum of Art, cat. 1027

Cultural and Educational Activities

The Navy and Marine Corps 250th celebrations are not just for touring spectacular ships, recreating the tavern that gave birth to the Marine Corps, and watching aerial displays.

It is also a chance to learn about and celebrate the 250 year history of the Navy and Marines and those who serve, taking advantage of the world-class museums and performing arts of the Philadelphia area.

The 250th celebrations will be accompanied by appropriate educational and cultural events and exhibits. The Museum of the American Revolution, the Independence Seaport Museum, and the Union League Legacy Foundation are willing to provide exhibits of naval art. They could be joined by the museum such as the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, which have fine naval art such as famous French Impressionist Édouard Manet's painting of "The Battle of the USS Kearsarge and the CSS Alabama."

Philadelphia Museum of Art & Its Famed "Rocky" Steps
Credit: Shutterstock

Other Philadelphia-area museums will host exhibits relating to the Navy and Marines 250th. The Museum of the American Revolution and the Independence Seaport Museum are well positioned to highlight the birth and history of the Navy and Marines. The Battleship New Jersey Museum could display the stern plate of the most decorated Navy ship ever, the carrier USS Enterprise (CV-6). That the Enterprise was scrapped reminds us how lucky we are that Philadelphia preserved the unique USS Olympia and Camden preserved the New Jersey, the most decorated Navy ship afloat and the second-most decorated of all time. We also hope to display one of the earliest submarines built for the Navy, the Intelligent Whale, preserved by the New Jersey National Guard. Other historic ships that cannot travel to the 250th celebrations, such as the Civil War river ironclad USS Cairo in Vicksburg, the World War I-era battleship USS Texas near Houston, and other museum ships from World War II and thereafter, may send their own historical artifacts for display, accompanied by informative signage.

Credit: National Guard Militia Museum of NJ

The National Museum of the Marine Corps could display a mobile museum and contribute other exhibits and artifacts. The National Museum of the U.S. Navy could similarly contribute exhibits and artifacts as it transitions to its new facility. Both museums would garner publicity and attendance by participating in the Navy and Marine Corps 250th celebrations in Philadelphia.

The Battleship New Jersey Museum and Memorial and the Independence Seaport Museum are also well equipped to mount exhibits on the evolving scientific, technological, engineering, and mathematical challenges involved in designing and operating a Navy ship, and could be joined by Philadelphia’s iconic Franklin Institute. Philadelphia’s modern Convention Center could host Navy- and Marine-related exhibitions and conventions. The open areas on Camden's waterfront could be the site of static displays, demonstrations, and mobile museums.

Such exhibits would serve both STEM and STEAM education for residents and visitors alike. Indeed, the 250th celebrations will include participation by students and schools at all levels, including Rutgers University-Camden and the many Philadelphia colleges. The Brigade of Midshipmen can visit from Annapolis, and play a major role in the celebrations, as can students from elementary school up. The 250th celebrations in Philadelphia will provide an unparalleled opportunity for the Navy and Marine Corps to reconnect with and educate young men and women about the history, opportunities, and honor of service in these hallowed military institutions.

The Marine Band, the Navy Band, and other musical organizations will perform as part of the ceremonies and at music venues in Philadelphia and the Camden waterfront. The renowned Philadelphia Orchestra is interested in participating. The Navy and Marine Balls could be held in Philadelphia for the Semiquincentennial, where General Lejeune held the first Marine Ball in 1925 as part of the Sesquicentennial celebrations.

Credit: DOD
Credit: DOD