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<p class="MsoNormal" style="margin-bottom: .0001pt; line-height: normal;"><span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;,serif;">NMUSN-3732:&nbsp;&nbsp; Truxtun-Decatur Museum, October 1957.&nbsp;&nbsp; Front entrance.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</span></p>

Truxtun-Decatur Naval Museum

Truxtun-Decatur Naval Museum

On May 18, 1950, the Naval Historical Foundation opened the Truxtun-Decatur Naval Museum within the former carriage house (stable) of the Decatur House located at 1610 H Street, North West, Washington, D.C.    Designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe and built in 1819, Commodore Stephen Decatur first occupied the residence.    Decatur House, Saint John’s Church, and the President’s House were the first three buildings built in the area now known as Lafayette Square.   Decatur, famed Barbary War and War of 1812 naval officer, met his fate in duel with U.S. Navy Commodore James Barron in March 1820.   After numerous owners, the house was owned by Mrs. Marie Truxtun Beale, a descendant of Commodore Thomas Truxtun.    In the late 1940s, the house was restored to Latrobe’s original design.  Following the death of Mrs. Truxtun-Beale in 1956, the house was given to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.    In 1961, the house was designated as a Registered National Historic Landmark.     

The first exhibit at the Truxtun-Decatur Naval Museum celebrated the 175th anniversary of the U.S. Marine Corps.    During the subsequent years, the museum held numerous exhibits on the history and conflicts of the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.   Some multi-year exhibits were on the U.S. Civil War and private artists who focused on their work on naval subjects.   The Naval Historical Foundation accepted donations and collected numerous artifacts and documents which were turned over in the early 1980s to the Navy Memorial Museum (now National Museum of the U.S. Navy) and the Naval Historical Center (now Naval History and Heritage Command) when the Truxtun-Decatur museum was turned into a conference center.     The Navy Museum was undergoing renovations during this time which updated exhibits and installed a new museum floor.    The Decatur House and former museum are now utilized by the White House Historical Association.  

Additional Resources:
Decatur House and Its Distinguished Occupants

Lead Image:
NMUSN-3732: Truxtun-Decatur Naval Museum, October 1957. Front entrance. Photographed by Ankers. National Museum of the U.S. Navy Photograph Collection.