JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT)- A museum that has been a dream in the east for more than 20 years can finally move forward after 26-million dollars was designated to the project in the budget Governor Cooper signed on Nov. 18th.
Operation Director for the Carolina Museum of the Marine, Retired Staff Sergeant Joe Houle, said they have been working on plans and legislation to get this approval since 1999.
“But this is a place where people can come and see walk into the museum and see the history and what went on in the Carolinas since 1941,” explained Houle.
Phase one of the project was completed in 2016. It’s the largest Eagle Globe and Anchor in the world, which currently stands at what will be the entrance to the museum.
The next phase is now underway with the new budget to build the 40-thousand square-foot venue which will house four galleries.
“The first one would be, it’s going to be the Corp and Carolina Gallery, and then it will be World War gallery, and then today, tomorrow and beyond.”
Houle said the fourth gallery will feature changing exhibits throughout the year.
He added that the idea of this project is that they want Marines and their families in the area to have a place to visit without having to travel.
“They come here and watch their marine or sailor, graduate, they have no place to go to say, this is what uncle John did, this is what dad did, this is what Papa did when he walks to the museum and has that in there,” said Houle.
The museum will also provide a space to tell stories that are not well-known but are a big part of military history.
“Back in World War Two in Edenton, North Carolina, there was an all-female squadron. They fixed and repaired and sent aircraft to 87 Different squadrons throughout the Pacific. I mean, where’s that story told that story? And I told anyway, we’re gonna tell that story, added Houle.
The museum is expected to be a big boost to the local economy and will create a number of new jobs.
Houle said they will break ground in 2022, hopefully by the spring. You can donate to the museum and its cause here.