The Navy Art Collection, a branch of Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC), suspended services and began renovations March 1, 2020 in order to create a climate-controlled environment, more suitable for storing historical artworks.

“The move will affect the Art Gallery loan program for office displays,” said Gale Munro, head curator at Navy Art collection. “High-level offices that are eligible for loans of original artwork will see significant delays, because we won’t be able to access our storage easily. Loans of reproductions may end entirely due to lack of facilities. Museums that want loans from Navy Art will need to plan far in advance.”

Combat Art Exhibit (1 of 4)
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WASHINGTON (March 5, 2018) Visitors to the National Museum of the United States Navy view works of art in the new exhibit, "Scenes from our Navy: Combat Art of the Twenty-First Century." The exhibit displays 35 works of art from the Navy’s Combat Art Program from the last fifteen years. (U.S. Navy Photo by Daniel N. Garas/Released)

The Navy Art Collection serves as the principal custodian of the Navy’s art/painting heritage; the division collects, documents, preserves, and exhibits art that is significant to the history of the Navy for service personnel and the public, while promoting the creation of such art through its Navy Art Collection traveling exhibition program.

The Navy Art Collection traveling exhibition program is designed to make the artwork accessible to as many people as possible through loans and exhibits to museums and institutions throughout the United States. Borrowers wishing to exhibit Navy Art are generally evaluated in terms of their service and accessibility to the public. Institutions that meet eligibility requirements, may borrow exhibits for one month or up to six months (or longer depending on the medium and availability of the artwork). There is no participation fee and the only costs are transportation via a fine arts shipper and insurance to cover the value of the artwork while off government property.

Containing almost 20,000 pieces of art, the building where the art is stored was built for industrial use. Due to a lack of insulation, the buildings humidity is uncontrollable.

“The main goal is to make it climate controlled in here,” said Munro. “In the past we’ve had mold grow on pieces causing damage that has to be restored by professional cleaning. If you control the humidity you can at least reduce the mold down to nearly nothing.”

Commands, organizations and museums who would like additional information or desire to initiate a loan request should contact the loans manager at Navy Art Collection; 805 Kidder Breese St. SE, Washington Navy Yard, DC 20374-5060 or via e-mail at Due to a significant move of collections and staff, replies for loan requests will be considerably delayed.

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, nine museums, USS Constitution repair facility and the historic ship Nautilus.

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