Guide to the U.S. Navy Museum Facilities in the United States
The U.S. Navy operates numerous museums and historic ships throughout the United States. These facilities provide visitors and researchers an opportunity to become familiar with the rich and varied history of the U.S. Navy, its customs and traditions, and the evolution of its multifaceted missions. Exhibits, artifacts, and programs sponsored by these museums chronicle specific aspects of U.S. naval history from the American Revolution to the present.
- -UPDATE- The USS Wisconsin at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum is now run by the city of Norfolk.
Admission, prices and hours of operation at www.nauticus.org
1001 Addor St.,
Port Hueneme, CA 93043 Port Hueneme, CA 93043-4301
Hours: Monday - Saturday: 9-4, Sunday: 12-4
Free admission and parking, wheelchair accessible, museum store.
Guided tours are available weekdays for groups of 15 persons or more.
The CEC Seabee Museum, founded in 1947, commemorates the history and worldwide achievements of the Naval Construction Force (Seabees) and the Navy's Civil Engineer Corps (CEC). This museum features not only military weapons, uniforms, and personal items but also handicrafts, models, and inventions by Seabee and CEC officers. Dioramas, complemented by a historical time line, portray some of the Seabees more important construction projects.
The Seabees were established in 1942 to build shore facilities in combat areas for the Navy and Marine Corps. At a cost of billions of dollars and numerous casualties, they constructed more than 400 advance bases in war zones, providing logistical support for troops at the front during World War II. Since then, Seabee construction services have supported American fighting troops in every significant conflict of the cold war and in the more recent crises in Bosnia and the Persian Gulf region.
Heritage Park, adjacent to the museum, commemorates all Seabees killed in combat during World War II, the Vietnam War, and by terrorist action.
|Hampton Roads Naval
One Waterside Drive, Ste. 248
Norfolk, VA 23510-1607
(757) 322-2987; fax (757) 445-1867
(757) 322-2987 for staff assistance
Located on the second floor of Nauticus, the National Maritime Center on Norfolk's waterfront. Free admission, wheelchair accessible. Public parking garages nearby.
Hampton Roads Naval Museum introduces visitors to more than two centuries of naval activity in and around the great harbor of Hampton Roads, Virginia. A tour begins with the Battle off the Capes in 1781, a naval engagement that made America's victory at Yorktown possible. An impressive collection of ship models and retrieved underwater artifacts advance the story through the Civil War and the battle of the ironclads Monitor and Virginia. Exhibits continuing into the 20th century feature the Battle of the Atlantic in World War II and conclude with exhibits of ships and sailors operating out of Norfolk with the Atlantic Fleet.
The museum offers guided tours, interpretive docents in period costumes, lecture series, interpreter vignettes, and special ship-building and knot-tying demonstrations. Visits to the research library may be scheduled by appointment.
|Historic Ship Nautilus
and Submarine Force Museum
Naval Submarine Base New London
Groton, CT 06349-5571
(860) 694-4150; fax (806) 449-4150
Free admission, wheelchair accessible, wheelchairs available, Nautilus video tour, museum store, picnic area on the grounds.
USS Nautilus (SSN 571), the world's first nuclear powered submarine, is Connecticut's State Ship and a National Historic Landmark. It was the first ship to reach the North Pole and the first submarine to journey "20,000 leagues under the sea." Decommissioned in 1980, Nautilus was converted to a floating museum and, with the Submarine Force Museum, opened to the public in 1986. Together they trace the development of the "silent service" from the Bushnell Turtle used in the Revolutionary War to the modern Los Angeles, Ohio, and Seawolf submarine classes. Visitors walking through the attack center of a World War II submarine hear the sounds of battle beneath the waves. They may look through three operating periscopes and on occasion see the Navy's latest submarines going by on the Thames River. Two mini-theaters show films of submarines past and present, and an interactive computer display explains how a submarine operates.
As the Navy's official submarine museum, it is the primary repository for artifacts and documents relating to the history and development of the U.S. Submarine Force. More than 15,000 artifacts, 20,000 documents, and 25,000 photographs contribute to the training and indoctrination of submariners and remind both the veteran and the new recruit of their mutual heritage. The museum's 5,000-volume reference and research library is a world-renowned collection documenting the history of submarines and is open to researchers.
|National Museum of
Naval Air Station
1750 Radford Boulevard Ste. C
Pensacola, FL 32508-5402
(904) 452-3604; fax (904) 452-3296
Free admission and parking, bus tours, wheelchair accessible, wheelchairs available, elevator. Museum store, Cubi Bar Cafe, motion based simulator, and IMAX theater.
This 297,000 square-foot museum, which opened in 1963, is devoted exclusively to Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard aviation history. One of the world's largest air and space museums, it displays more than 120 aircraft dating from the dawn of naval aviation through Operation Desert Storm. Among them are the NC-4 flying boat, the first aircraft to fly across the Atlantic Ocean; the D-558-1 Skystreak, once holder of the world speed record; and an F-4 Phantom II that shot down an enemy MiG-19 fighter during combat over North Vietnam. Another forty aircraft outside the museum, including the first F-14 Tomcat ever placed on public display, continue the celebration of naval aviation.
Visitors learn about the naval aviators who served in the famed Flying Tigers, and in one expansive exhibit they stroll down Main Street of a World War II Home Front town, pass through a recruiting station, and experience wartime life at an island airfield. The wooden flight deck and carrier island replica of USS Cabot (CVL 28) recall the epic WWII naval battles in which that ship participated, including the "Great Marianas Turkey Shoot" (first Battle of the Philippine Sea) and the Battle of Leyte Gulf. .
The Flight Adventure Deck, and interactive science exhibit incorporating the principles of flying, opens in 1999. The museum displays a fine art collection, and a public research center and library holds photographic and manuscript collections.
1 Garnett Way
Keyport, WA 98345
Free admission and parking, wheelchair accessible, museum store.
The Naval Undersea Museum combines naval history, undersea technology, and marine science to create an exciting and educational experience for visitors. This new building, filled with more than 20,000 square feet of exhibits, holds the largest collection of naval undersea history and science artifacts in the United States.
Exhibits interpret the ocean environment, the development of undersea weapons technology, U.S. submarines, and Navy diving and salvage. Artifacts include U.S. torpedoes from the Whitehead and Howell designs to the modern Mk 48 and Mk 50 weapons, a Confederate mine, torpedo tubes from USS Tecumseh (SSBN 628), and a simulated control room incorporating major equipment from USS Greenling (SSN 614). Numerous video, audio, and hands-on interactive exhibits enhance the visitor's experience.
Deep-submergence vessels Trieste II and Deep Quest are on display outside the museum, along with the 55-ton sail from nuclear fast attack submarine USS Sturgeon (SSN 637).
The museum's research library contains more than 6,500 volumes that support the exhibits and provide extensive information on undersea history, science, and operations. It also holds a complete set of WWII submarine war patrol reports and more than 115 interviews from the U.S. Naval Institute's oral history collection.
686 Cushing Road
Newport, RI 02841-1207
(401) 841-4052; fax (401) 841-7689
Free admission and parking, wheelchair accessible, museum store.
Founders Hall (1820), located on the southeast perimeter of the campus of the Naval War College on Coasters Harbor Island, Newport, is home to the College Museum. A National Historic Landmark, Founders Hall is the original site of the college, the Navy's senior professional school and the place where Alfred Thayer Mahan, the second college president (1886-1889), wrote the epochal The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783.
The museum features exhibits on the history of naval warfare, particularly as studied at the Naval War College down through the years, and on the naval heritage of the Narragansett Bay region. Permanent exhibits highlight the history of the college since its founding in 1884 and of other major naval commands in the Newport area, Rhode Island's unique leadership role in forming an American Navy during the Revolution, and the state's naval heroes of the first half of the 19th century, Oliver and Matthew Perry.
Temporary exhibits, generally of three to six months' duration and relating to naval warfare, are prepared annually. Presentations describe background planning for and conduct of ancient and modern sea battles and make use of dioramas, maps and operational charts, models, pictures, works of art, and video representations.
|The U.S. Navy Museum
805 Kidder Breese Street SE
Washington Navy Yard
Washington, DC 20374-5060
(202) 433-4882; fax (202) 433-8200
Free admission and parking, wheelchair accessible, museum store. Guided and self-guided tours available.
Called one of Washington, DC's most user-friendly museums, The U.S. Navy Museum exhibits ship models, uniforms, medals, ordnance, photographs and fine art in the setting of the former Breech Mechanism Shop of the old Naval Gun Factory. Chronicling the U.S. Navy's history, the museum's collection includes an F-4U Corsair aircraft, better known as Big Hog; a twin mount 5-inch .38 caliber gun; and a quad-40 millimeter antiaircraft battery. The research submersible Trieste, which explored the deepest part of the world ocean, Challenger Deep off the Marianas Islands, exemplifies the U.S. Navy's role in undersea exploration. Working periscopes and klaxon in the Submarine Room are among the hands-on experiences for all visitors.
The comprehensive In Harm's Way exhibit chronicles the Navy's role in World War II from the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 to Japan's surrender in 1945. Its three sections examine the Pacific and Atlantic campaigns and life on the Home Front.
Outside The U.S. Navy Museum, 19th-century ordnance extend through the park to the banks of the Anacostia River. A U.S. naval railway battery gun dominates the western park area. Several of these guns traveled the length of France during World War I, firing 1,400-pound shells into occupied territory. At the east end of the park a memorial PCF recalls the Vietnam War and the sacrifice of Swift boat sailors who patrolled the dangerous rivers and coastlines of Southeast Asia.
Building 70 just east of the park is undergoing renovation as the future site of a Cold War museum. It houses a Tomahawk cruise missile, a Poseidon missile designed specifically for submarine use, and a U.S. river patrol boat; all may be viewed by appointment.
Destroyer Barry (DD 933), decommissioned in November 1982, came to the Washington Navy Yard for ceremonial purposes and remains a permanent display ship. Operated by Headquarters, Naval District Washington, the ship is open to the public daily.
118 Maryland Avenue
Annapolis, MD 21402-5034
(410) 293-2108; fax (410) 293-5220
Free admission, wheelchair accessible, U.S. Naval Institute Bookstore.
Located in Preble Hall on the Academy grounds, The U.S. Naval Academy Museum holds large collections of unique and rare naval memorabilia. The Rogers Ship Models Collection consists of 108 models of the sailing ship era dating from 1650 to 1850; seventeen are scale models built for the use of the British Admiralty. The more than 5,000 naval prints in the Beverley R. Robinson Collection depict major naval battles and ships from the 16th century to the present. Most pieces are contemporary to their subjects and represent three centuries in the art of printmaking. The Malcolm Storer Navy Medals Collection of 1,210 commemorative coin-medals, dating from as early as 254 B.C., was gathered from more than thirty countries. The U.S. Navy Trophy Flag Collection of 600 historic American and captured flags features the "Don't Give Up the Ship" flag flown at the Battle of Lake Erie and banners that have been to the moon.
Charlestown Navy Yard, Building 5
Boston, MA 02129
Admission free, top deck wheelchair accessible.
The frigate Constitution, first placed in commission in 1798, continues to serve in the U.S. Navy two centuries later. She patrolled waters of the East Coast and in the Caribbean during the Quasi-War with France, and fought at Tripoli during the Barbary Wars before earning her nickname "Old Ironsides" in the War of 1812.
Moored at the Charlestown Navy Yard, which is operated by the National Park Service, she is the most frequently visited historic landmark in the Boston area. Active-duty sailors assigned to the ship give guided tours. For the first time since 1881, Constitution, the oldest commissioned warship afloat in the world, sailed under her own power in 1997, marking the 200th anniversary of her launch. Traditional tug-powered "turn-around" cruises occur in Boston Harbor each Fourth of July and on other special occasions during the summer. A visit to the Constitution's web site is suggested for an up-to-date schedule of activities on board ship.
|U.S. Naval Heritage Center of Armament and Technology
Naval Air Weapons Station
1 Pearl Harbor Way
China Lake, CA 93555-6001
Free Admission and parking, wheelchair accessible.
The China Lake Museum's mission is to collect, preserve, interpret, and display the evolution and accomplishments of the Navy's airborne ordnance and the contributions of the Navy's laboratory community in science and technology.
The Museum, established in 2000, contains one of the finest publicly accessible collections of tactical air weaponry and technology anywhere. The display collection ranges from World War II rockets to cutting-edge guided missiles and includes familiar items like Sidewinder, Shrike and Tomahawk alongside weapon systems that can be seen nowhere else: Agile, ACIMD, Bulldog and Advanced Bomb Family (to name but a few). Videos covering China Lake projects and history may be viewed there as well.
Great Lakes Naval Museum
Naval Station Great Lakes, Illinois 60088
Free admission and parking.
Friday 1:00 pm-4:00 pm, Saturday & Sunday 7:00 am-3:00 pm. Due to the increased security precautions, please bring a photo ID and, if driving, a driver's license, vehicle registration and proof of insurance.
The Naval Training Center Great Lakes Museum is dedicated to telling the story of "boot camp" training in the United States Navy, and in particular, the Naval Training Station/Center Great Lakes, Illinois. Although originally one of four boot camps, it is now home to Recruit Training Command, the only Navy recruit training command. A special section of the museum is dedicated to the expanding role of women in the United States Navy.