The last sail-only warship built by the Navy, the sloop-of-war Constellation, was launched in 1854 and currently resides in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor as a museum ship. The Winds of Change exhibit will occupy the museum’s temporary gallery on the first floor.

Visitors will learn about all five U.S. Navy ships given the name Constellation, from the historic frigate, the first U.S. Navy ship to win a victory over an enemy warship in 1799, to the lead ship of the new Constellation-class guided-missile frigates to be completed in 2026. The main feature of the exhibit is the sloop-of-war Constellation, in service from 1855 to 1955. This historic ship served during the American Civil War, helped to free people from slavery off the coast of Africa, and enforced U.S. policies overseas.

After Constellation’s service as an active warship ended in 1864, it served as a training ship, for many years at Naval Station Newport, and in 1880, even carried an emergency shipment of food to famine victims in Ireland. Starting in 1909, an 80-year controversy unfolded over whether or not the sloop-of-war was the original frigate from 1797 or if the ship was new construction in 1854. In the 1990s, new research proved that the sloop-of-war was a new ship and not a rebuild of the 18th century frigate. On display are some of the artifacts that contributed to the controversy and evidence used to prove the true origins of the sloop-of-war.

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Department of the Navy Museums, the Naval War College Museum collects, preserves, and exhibits artifacts and documents dating from the 1500s to the present day to interpret the naval history of Narragansett Bay, the Naval War College, and the history of naval strategy.

For more information about the Naval War College Museum, visit or call 401-841-4052.

The Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for preserving, analyzing, and disseminating 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.