Monday, August 11, 2014

Annapolis: The Naval Academy Museum

While the Annapolis Naval Academy is a great place to wander around and watch cadets get yelled at, you should find some time to visit the museum they have. Don't be mistaken by the displays outside of the gift shop though. A ten minute walk to Preble Hall will give you access to a one of the best museums dedicated to American Naval History.

The museum tells the history of the Navy from their formation during the Second Continental Congress in 1775. From their humble beginnings of protecting merchant ships all the way to current nuclear powered submarines, the museum will walk you through the ships, the leaders and the Sailors who have kept the water safe.

Old time Navy awards are way better than medals today. We also don't get swords anymore.

The museum has displays dedicated to various Naval leaders throughout the ages. George DeLong was a graduate of the Naval Academy and American explorer who died in Siberia while trying to reach the North Pole.

The wheel from the USS Hartford from 1899

On the second floor, the Naval Academy has one of the largest collection of naval ship models. But these aren't put together by ship fans. These models are made around the same time as the ship itself as sort of a three dimensional model while constructing the actual ship. 

The St. George above was built in 1701 and is one of the few models that was built with full sail rigging. Usually only the hull is made. If I could have gotten a closer shot, you'd be able to see the imperfections in the tiny glass panes of ship.

Other models were made to easily pull apart to view the inside of hold. Model shipbuilding was a master and apprentice job in those days. An apprentice would start at a young age and learn how to build and design these Naval warships.

The Naval Academy museum is open Monday through Saturday 9am to 5pm and Sundays 11am to 5pm. Free admission, but since it's at the Naval Academy, you'll need a government ID to get onto the base.

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