National Museum of the Marine Corps Presents When Janey Comes Marching Home: Portraits of Women Combat Veterans

The National Museum of the Marine Corps opened a new traveling exhibit that presents a multifaceted portrait of service women returning from war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. Female service members are as diverse as the country they protect, coming from cities, suburbs and farms, each to serve for their own reason. Their stories of service are brought to life through “When Janey Comes Marching Home: Portraits of Women Combat Veterans,” on display through October 9.

The exhibit, a collaboration between author-filmmaker Laura Browder and photojournalist Sascha Pflaeging, features 45 large-scale color photographic portraits and oral histories of women who have served in the Global War on Terrorism and tells not only what it was like to be under fire, but what unique challenges they faced as women in combat zones.

“Photographs of women who are mothers and soldiers could have the power to unsettle our fixed ideas about Americans at war, and their narratives could add dimension to the often flawed or fragmentary representations of women soldiers in popular culture: as novelties, but not as real soldiers,” Browder said. “The first time I heard a woman describe her deployment in glowing terms, I was taken aback. Marine Col. Jenny Holbert told me that being in charge of public affairs for the second battle of Fallujah was ‘probably one of the biggest events of my life, other than birthing two children’…It took me a while to understand how compelling the experience of being in a combat zone could be for the women I talked with.”

Women who serve in the Corps have a history of pride in service, extending long before the Global War on Terror. Pieces of that history will also be displayed at the Museum starting this weekend, thanks to the “Women of the Corps Collection” on loan from the Women Marines Association (WMA). Articles from this collection will be showcased along with the traveling exhibit.

“The history of the women who have earned the title Marine is an integral part of the Corps’ history and one that is often overlooked. The Women of the Corps Collection helps tell the story of the women who have served our Corps from legendary Lucy Brewer in the War of 1812 through those serving today. We are honored that items from our collection are being exhibited at the National Museum of the Marine Corps,” said Nancy Wilt, WMA Historian.

This exhibition and the accompanying book by the same name (available for sale in the National Museum of the Marine Corps Museum Store) were made possible by generous grants from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the College of Humanities and Sciences, Virginia Commonwealth University. The exhibition was organized by the Visual Arts Center of Richmond. Its tour is administered by the Anderson Gallery, VCU School of the Arts, with additional support from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

Image: National Museum of the Marine Corps

The National Museum of the Marine Corps is at 18900 Jefferson Davis Highway in Triangle, Va. and is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily except December 25. Admission and parking are free. For more information please call 703 784-6107 or visit us on the web at

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