Puget Sound Navy Museum
The Puget Sound Navy Museum is one of ten museums funded and administered by the U.S. Navy. With the Naval Undersea Museum (NUM) in Keyport, WA, it forms Navy Museums Northwest (NMNW). NMNW is a unit of the Naval History and Heritage Command with headquarters in Washington, D.C.
The Museum began operation as a not-for-profit on December 3, 1954. Named the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard Museum, it was established by the U.S. Navy. Puget Sound Naval Shipyard employees provided staff for the Museum.
In 1964, the Museum found a new home the Washington State Ferry Terminal’s lobby. The City of Bremerton accepted custody of the Museum’s collection, and the Kitsap County Historical Society agreed to staff the Museum. The Museum reopened in 1967 as the Naval Shipyard Museum and operated there until 1986 when the Terminal was demolished.
In 1986, the City of Bremerton agreed to lease a 6000 square foot building near the Ferry Terminal. During this time, the Museum was referred to as the Bremerton Navy Memorial Museum as well as the Naval Museum of the Pacific. Volunteers staffed the Museum while the City paid the rent and utilities. In 1998, the City decided it could no longer pay the Museum’s rent, which led the Museum’s non-profit foundation to take over the full operation of the Museum until 2002, when the City decided to raze the Washington Avenue location in order to make room for a hotel and convention center. Negotiations between City officials, former museum foundation Board President Lyle Nelson, and U.S. Congressman Norm Dicks (WA-D) resulted in a decision to create a permanent home for the Museum in historic Building 50. The Museum moved from 130 Washington in 2002 to a rented space in the Amy Burnett Gallery at the northwest corner of Fourth and Pacific Street. It operated there until the summer of 2007 when the collection, offices, and staff moved to the newly renovated Building 50 at 251 First Street.
The Museum officially reopened on August 25, 2007. It was renamed the Puget Sound Navy Museum and became an official U.S. Navy Museum in March of 2008. Beginning with approximately 600 objects, the Museum’s collection now numbers more than 30,000. Building 50 provides the Museum with 6,049 square feet of exhibition space and 4,170 square feet of collections storage. Today, visitors can explore the naval history of the region and experience life as a sailor through exhibits about the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, the USS Nimitz, historic photographs of local Navy operations, and much more.
Historic Building 50
The U.S. Navy built Building 50 on the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard in 1896. It served as the first Administrative Headquarters for Shipyard commandants. The building has been relocated three times: first when Dry Dock 2 was built in 1910, second in the 1930s to Farragut Avenue where it served as apprentice classrooms and administrative offices, and third in 2006 to its present location at 251 First Street, which is on land that the Shipyard donated to the City of Bremerton. In 2006, the Navy transferred ownership of Building 50 to the City. The building underwent a city-funded $6 million renovation but retained much of its core exterior architectural values. The City then leased the interior of the building for use as a U.S. Navy Museum. The Museum officially reopened in Building 50 on August 25, 2007.