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Curator Branch: Historical Properties of the Navy

OPNAV INSTRUCTION 5750.13; 10 November 1975

10 November 1975       


From: Chief of Naval Operations
To:   All Ships and Stations (less Marine Corps field addresses not having Navy personnel attached)


Ref: (a) SECNAV ltr A12-2 (300415) of 28 Apr 30
       (b) SECNAV ltr ser 224313 of 28 Apr 45
       (c) SECNAV ltr ser 94P29 of 30 Jan 51
       (d) DODINST 4160.21-M, Defense Utilization and Disposal Manual
       (e) OPNAVINST 4440.4E, Declassification, demilitarization, and stripping
             procedures for ships programmed for disposal (NOTAL)
       (f) OPNAVINST 4770.5D, General instructions for inactive ships
             and craft (NOTAL)
       (g) OPNAVINST 5750.10G, Naval Aviation Museum

1. Purpose. To summarize responsibilities concerning historical properties of the Department of the Navy, less those of the U.S. Marine Corps, for which latter properties the Director for Marine Corps History and Museums is responsible. These include relics, memorials, tokens, paintings, documents (except official records), museum or display objects, and artifacts of historical value.

2. Background. In reference (a), the Secretary of the Navy assigned the Officer in Charge of the Office of Naval Records and Library (forerunner of the Director of Naval History) additional responsibilities as Curator for the Navy Department. In reference (b), the Secretary placed the functions of the curator under the cognizance of the Chief of Naval Operations with the promulgation of instructions, as deemed necessary.

             a. In reference (c), the Secretary specified that "all articles of a museum nature donated to the Navy Department will remain the property of the Department." The curator, under the Chief of Naval Operations, was authorized to loan materials to suitable museums. He was also directed to handle matters pertaining to loans or donations to other organizations (in accordance with the applicable public law) of obsolete material of historical significance classified as excess to the needs of the Navy.

             b. In 1971, when the Naval Historical Center was established to encompass the Naval History Division of the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Naval Historical Display Center, the Director, Naval History Division, was designated as the Director, Naval Historical Center, but also continued his assignment with OPNAV as the Director of Naval History, OP-09BH, and as Curator for the Navy.

3. Responsibilities

          a. Except for specific collections permanently assigned to such activities as the Naval Academy, the Director of Naval History, OP-09BH, as Curator for the Navy, is responsible for:

(1) Acquisition, custody, distribution, and exhibit of items of historical or patriotic value to the Navy;
(2) Coordination of the activities of bureaus, offices, and commands in regard to such items;
(3) Furnishing guidance on preservation and storage of historical material;
(4) Loans and donations in accordance with public law and instructions of the Secretary of the Navy; and,
(5) Maintenance of information and accountability records for the Navy's historical properties.

b. Under the Chief of Naval Operations

(1) The Commander, Naval Supply Systems Command, is responsible for the receipt, storage, and shipment of Navy historical materials, in fulfillment of the requirements of CNO (OP-09BH).
(2) The Commander, Naval Sea Systems Command, is responsible for the removal and shipment of historical items from ships scheduled for disposal.
(3) The Commander, Naval Air Systems Command, is responsible for identifying and shipping aircraft and other aviation materials of historical significance.

4. Action. All commands, bureaus, and offices will report to CNO (OP-09BH) items considered to be of historical importance, when such items become available. Those selected for accessioning will be retained or shipped by the reporting organization, in accordance with instructions. Additional information on the disposal of historical material is contained in references (d) through (f).

5. Report. Symbol OPNAV 5750.8, "Items of Historical Importance for the Department of the Navy," is assigned the reporting requirement in paragraph 4 above.

   Assistant Vice Chief of Naval Operations
   Director of Naval Administration

10 April 2001