The Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is using state-of-the-art technology to bring the history of the Vietnam War to life in a new 2.5-acre Vietnam Experience Exhibit.
The new exhibit opened on Saturday features more than a dozen components that simulate life during wartime in a “Brown Water Navy” support base and a U.S. Marine Corps artillery fire base.
While in the Vietnam Experience, visitors are meant to feel like they have traveled back in time and are standing in the war zone. They are able get inside rare artifacts like a MK1 River Patrol Boat (PBR) that is on display and floating in a newly constructed lagoon. New landscaping around the exhibit gives the impression that the visitor is on the edge of a jungle location.
In addition to the PBR, three different types of helicopters and a 105 Howitzer gun are also on display. As visitors make their way in and out of new exhibit areas like the mess hall, and climb onto an observation tower, they hear the sound of jet aircraft and helicopters flying over their heads. Holograms bring Marine officers to life in a 3-D production.
“This exhibit was built to honor the veterans who served in the Vietnam War and to educate new generations about this war that defined America after WWII,” said Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum Executive Director Mac Burdette. “The Vietnam Experience is something that will not only bring the history of the war to life, but will also serve as a place for Vietnam veterans, their families and others to reflect on wartime experiences.” Burdette said.
The Vietnam Experience is a permanent exhibit and is included in the normal museum admission price. It is part of Patriots Point’s ongoing effort to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War over the next few years. Construction of the exhibit was made possible by contributions from Charleston County Council, Bennett Hospitality and the Charleston Harbor Benefactors Society.