Communities remember events in many ways. Navies oftentimes fabricate plaques to display historical information for crew and visitors. Mounted on a vessel's quarterdeck or in special spaces, they remind one and all of a ship's origins and the events its crew experienced. Design and material may differ according to time and need; display location may change over time. On decommissioning, these are normally removed and shipped to the Navy Curator for preservation.
This page features items in the collections, with images drawn from our Photographic Section files.
This exhibition is for reference purposes only and does not suggest or indicate that an object is available for loan.
U.S. Army Private First Class Felix A. Uva (left) and Corporal Donald A. Purdy examine a memorial plaque on the cruiser's main deck, while they were being transported to the United States from Europe as part of Operation "Magic Carpet" in November 1945. This plaque was presented to the ship by the citizens of Boise, Idaho, in memory of the 107 crewmembers who lost their lives in the Battle of Cape Esperance, 11-12 October 1942.
Plaque mounted on board the ship in memory of crewmembers killed and missing during World War II. Sixty men are named on the plaque. Photographed in 1946.Courtesy of John R. Henry, 1973.
Plaque commemorating the namesake and the builder, with information on the ship's significant dates, photographed circa 1938.
Historical Data Plaque of USS Missouri (BB-63)
Bronze. Navy Department Curator Catalog Number 89-170-A
Plaque marking the spot where Japan surrendered on 2 September 1945. BB-63's commanding officer recognized the importance of his vessel's role in concluding World War II, and asked the Bureau of Ships to procure a plaque suitable to mark the occasion. Following a competition, this design was chosen and then cast at the Naval Gun Factory, Washington Navy Yard, DC. Photographed at the time it was first installed at the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, 21 October 1945.
Historical Data Plaque of USS Wyoming (BB-32 / AG-17)
Bronze. Navy Department Curator Catalog Number: 47-51-A
Chief Gunner's Mate Eugene Metzel, USN, who has served 24 years on board Wyoming, looks at the bronze plaque commemorating her First World War service with the Grand Fleet. Photographed in 1945. Chief Metzel is wearing the World War II era service dress grey uniform.