This portion focuses on exterior imagery of the National Museum of the U.S. Navy, Building 76. Constructed as a gun manufacturing and anchor shop in the 1880’s, modifications in 1898 led to the manufacture of breech mechanisms and other gun parts. For the specific work on gun barrels, they were transported by trains and internal cranes lifted them into structures for the work to be done. Utilized to fabricate ordnance until after World War II, Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Arleigh Burke chose the location to establish the Naval Historical Display Center in 1961. A plan to join Buildings 36 and 76 with a walkway was envisioned in the early 1970s, but the plan never came to fruition. The name of the museum has been changed numerous times. In 1972, the first change was to the U.S. Navy Memorial Museum then to the Navy Museum in 1985 and finally to the National Museum of the U.S. Navy. The rugged 19th century industrial building construction adds to the overall historic presentation to the exhibit areas. Combined with the Cold War Gallery, the artifacts in Willard Park and Leutze Park, the museum complex is the largest non-Smithsonian museum in the nation’s capital.
Image: NH 85983: Building 76, Washington Navy Yard, Washington D.C., circa 1961. View is the building facing south while being cleared of industrial equipment for conversion to the Naval Historical Display Center. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.