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Who We Are



The Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC), headed by the Director of Naval History, is an Echelon II command headquartered on the Washington Navy Yard, D.C.

Vision: To serve our nation, by using the power of history and heritage to enhance the warfighting capability of the U.S. Navy.

  • Moral
    • Let those who serve today know that their sacrifice will always be remembered, honored, and valued.
  • Practical
    • Preserve and use hard-won historical experience (lessons learned) to better accomplish the Navy’s mission.
    • Use the Navy’s legacy of valor and sacrifice to inspire current and future generations of Navy combat leaders and teams.
    • Foster the continuing support of the American people essential to a strong future Navy.

Mission: To preserve and present an accurate history of the U.S. Navy.

  • Locate, collect, and preserve documents, artifacts, photos, oral histories, and art that best represent the history of the U.S. Navy.
  • Locate and protect lost U.S. Navy ships and aircraft, particularly those that represent the last resting place of American Sailors, to the maximum extent feasible.
  • As the U.S. Navy’s institutional memory, assist U.S. Navy leadership in meeting operational, readiness, policy, acquisition, and professional development requirements, and to learn at higher velocity.


The Naval History and Heritage Command traces its lineage to 1794, when the Navy Department Library was established under the Naval Bureau, which was part of the War Department in Philadelphia. In 1800, President John Adams asked Benjamin Stoddert, the first Secretary of the Navy, to prepare a catalog of professional books best suited for a naval library. Today, the NHHC is the central resource for today’s operational Navy and acts as the service's institutional memory. 

Headquartered on the historic Washington Navy Yard, D.C., the Command includes ten Navy museums nationwide as well as a detachment that maintains the Navy’s oldest commissioned warship, USS Constitution, in Boston, Mass.

The NHHC manages the official history program of the United States Navy, fulfilling its mission to strengthen the Navy’s effectiveness by preserving, analyzing, and interpreting the service’s hard-earned experience. A professional staff of historians, archivists, librarians, museum specialists, and naval personnel carries out historical activities and supports the fleet. 

The Command oversees Navy programs and instructions related to history; advances knowledge of naval history and heritage through professional research, analysis, and interpretation, delivering a range of knowledge products and services; advises the Navy, other agencies, and the public on issues related to Navy ship and aircraft wrecks; and administers grants, fellowships, scholarships, and internships related to naval history.

Published: Tue Apr 21 15:34:58 EDT 2020