President Theodore Roosevelt sent the Great White Fleet from Hampton Roads, Virginia, on December 16, 1907, on a world tour to test naval readiness, establish global presence, generate international goodwill, and garner enthusiasm for the U.S. Navy. Sixteen battleships and 14,000 men embarked on a historic voyage that steamed 43,000 miles and made 20 port calls on six continents. The cruise provided Navy personnel with practical experience in sea duty and ship handling. The cruise also allowed the U.S. Navy to have a forward presence that provided not only a measure of power projection, but also an instrument for diplomacy and international parterships. The Great White Fleet returned to Hampton Roads on February 22, 1909.
To review an in-depth online history from the NHHC Library on the Great White Fleet, please click here.
Interesting artifacts and models in the Great White Fleet exhibit area.
- Commemorative Medals from the cruise, including one from USS Minnesota (Battleship #22).
- Ship's Bell from USS Brooklyn (Armored Cruiser #3).
- Hand-tinted postcards from the the cruise of the Great White Fleet.
- Herscoff Reversible Steam Engine.
- Silverware used during the cruise of the Great White Fleet.
The ship models in this exhibit have been redistributed on the museum floor.