By Lt. j.g. Joe Scannell, Navy Public Affairs Support Element East
At the museum, Dold, who represents Illinois’ 10th congressional district, and his staff were given a private tour, showcasing new and permanent exhibits while also learning about the new vision for the museum. At the conclusion of the tour, he told staff how much he appreciated the museum and their work to preserve the history of the Navy.
“It’s an honor for us to be able to have this museum about the American sailor here at Naval Station Great Lakes, the Quarterdeck of the Navy. Every sailor that’s trained comes through this area and so to have this museum here is not only the ideal location for it, but we’re enormously proud of the history and to be able to display it is something that’s really special.”
The Great Lakes Naval Museum was officially renamed the National Museum of the American Sailor during a ceremony and sign unveiling at the museum July 4. The National Museum of the American Sailor name change signals a shift in vision from a regional focus to one that depicts the diverse history of Sailors who have served in the U.S. Navy. The name change also reflects the interest of museum visitors, many of whom travel from across the country to attend the basic training graduations at the Navy’s Recruit Training Command.
The National Museum of the American Sailor currently features exhibits on life in Navy boot camp, naval uniforms and traditions, the history of Naval Station Great Lakes, the role of diversity in the Navy and the role of women in the Navy. Over the next two years, the museum will expand its exhibits to introduce visitors to the overall history and role of the U.S. Navy and the experiences of American Sailors in the past and today.
The museum is located in Building 42 just outside the perimeter of Naval Station Great Lakes. Building 42, known as Hostess House, was built in 1942 and served as a visitors and reception center for almost one million American Sailors who came through Great Lakes during WWII.
The former Great Lakes Naval Museum was dedicated on October 26, 1996 in Building 158 and opened to the public on October 13, 1997. It became an official Navy Museum in Building 42 in 2009, joining the Naval History and Heritage Command museum enterprise.
The National Museum of the American Sailor is one of ten museums in the NHHC enterprise. Other museums include:
- National Museum of the United States Navy (Washington Navy Yard, DC)
- National Naval Aviation Museum (Pensacola, Florida)
- Hampton Roads Naval Museum (Norfolk, Virginia)
- United States Navy Seabee Museum (Port Hueneme, California)
- Submarine Force Library and Museum and Historic Ship NAUTILUS (Groton, Connecticut)
- Naval Undersea Museum (Keyport, Washington)
- Puget Sound Navy Museum (Bremerton, Washington)
- Naval War College Museum (Newport, Rhode Island)
- United States Naval Academy Museum (Annapolis, Maryland)
The Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy's unique and enduring contributions through our nation's history and supports the fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis and interpretive services. NHHC is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library, the Navy Operational Archives, the Navy art and artifact collections, underwater archeology, Navy histories, ten museums, USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus.