The Man for All Seasons sequence will explore aspects of George C. Marshall’s life that are often overshadowed by his monumental achievements as chief of staff and secretary of state, including his time at a cadet at the Virginia Military Institute, his tenure as President of the American Red Cross, and his chairmanship of the American Battle Monuments Commission. Although less well-known, Marshall’s experiences in these positions, which occurred during different stages of his life, provide valuable insights into Marshall’s development as a leader and public servant as well as further highlight the extent of his contributions to the U.S. and the world.
The George C. Marshall Foundation is excited to announce our latest exhibit: Marshall in Thirty Objects. Items from the museum collection, library and archive, and loans from the George C. Marshall International Center and Virginia Military Institute Museum System are included in the exhibit. The objects and documents are displayed in chronological order beginning with his time as Cadet George C. Marshall, Jr., Class of 1901, at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), and ending with the dedication of a 7-foot bronze statue on VMI’s Post nearly twenty years after his death. Visitors can follow his career as a soldier-statesman throughout the exhibit, and also see items that symbolize the strength of Marshall’s character.
Themes explored in this exhibit include:
Military and Civilian Leadership: Items on display include correspondence about his opinion on voting, his support of the Tuskegee Aviation program, the Women’s Army Corps, the five-star rank, and his speech to the Harvard Alumni Association, known as the “Marshall Plan” speech.
Reverence toward the Virginia Military Institute: Marshall credited VMI as the institution that gave him his strident belief in the citizen-soldier, and personally, the base from which he was able to become one of America’s greatest leaders. VMI also has recognized Marshall as its most accomplished graduate by dedicating Marshall Arch and the bronze statue on Post. Images and information are on display.
Importance of work-life balance: Marshall realized that in order to be productive and focused it was important to relax and enjoy oneself outside of work. Marshall read and was an avid fisherman and a devoted equestrian. Items never displayed before including his Harnell fishing rod, loaned from the George C. Marshall International Center, and the Pariani saddle he purchased in 1930.
Tributes to Marshall: Though Marshall did not want or need recognition for his life’s work, he was still recognized for his strength of character throughout his life, first by his VMI Class of 1901 brother rats, then later by General Pershing, President Truman, Kappa Alpha Order, and the Nobel Prize Committee. Items related to these events are also part of the exhibit.
Marshall in Thirty Objects is on display through June 2020.