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WASHINGTON DC 20374-5060

Material Section

The Navy's central artifact collection is being consolidated from several locations into a single warehouse facility in Richmond, Va.  This consolidation lays the groundwork for more efficient and more environmentally appropriate storage conditions for these irreplaceable resources.  During this period, artifact accessibility and staff availability will both be severely restricted.  Responses to requests for artifact support and for loans therefore are not being entertained.  Please check the NHHC website for updates.

For information about the move, please see and follow NHHC on social media

The Naval Historical Center's Material Section has a broad range of artifacts relating to all aspects of naval history. Its collections are a principal source of objects of U.S. Navy subjects, and contain a wide selection of unique items.

Location: Washington Navy Yard, second floor of Building 108

Hours: Monday through Friday: 0900 - 1600 (9 a.m. - 4 p.m.)
CLOSED: Weekends and Federal holidays

Phone: (202) 433-3607; DSN 288-3607

Historical Property

The primary function of the Material Section is to provide stewardship of the Navy's historical artifacts. The Naval Historical Center has direct responsibility for tens of thousands of items. This work involves acquisitions, cataloging, inventory control, and preservation, to ensure that items are available to support Navy mission needs. 

Reference Services

The Material Section provides limited research services in response to written and telephone inquiries. Such requests should be as specific as possible concerning names, dates, places, ship hull numbers and other details of the information wanted. Most files on hand relate to the Center's acquisition and custody of objects and a brief explanation of the item's significance. 

Extensive documentary information on the history of an item, such as technical design and development, operational employment, and serial numbers of major equipment are likely held by the Naval Historical Center's Operational Archives or the National Archives. Since the volume of research inquiries usually far exceeds the available staff resources, responses are not necessarily timely. Send research requests to:

Naval Historical Center (CUA)
805 Kidder Breese ST SE, Washington Navy Yard
Washington DC 20374-5060

Phone: (202) 433-3607; DSN 288-3607

If extensive research is required, it must be conducted in person. Appointments are essential to ensure access to the Washington Navy Yard and the availability of staff. Telephone us to make the necessary arrangements.

Research can also be obtained, for a fee, through the Naval Historical Foundation's Historical Services, or by hiring a commercial researcher.

Online Artifact Exhibit

The Online Artifact Exhibit highlights some of the Material Section's collections. The contents are limited, but many interesting artifacts have been posted on a variety of subjects. Many images are taken from the Photographic Section's Online Library, showing the items in contemporary settings; those without links are photos taken for the exhibit.  Additional topics and images are added periodically.

Loan Program

The Naval Historical Center makes collections available for loan to eligible commands, offices, and non-government organizations.  Prospective borrowers must have a specific theme or subject in mind and must meet requirements for care and custody.  Major borrower costs are shipping, handling, and insurance.  For more information, see the pages on the Loan Program

More Information

 03 August 2004