Blog and photos by John W. Kennedy, director of education, Naval War College Museum
With the completion of the overhaul to the HVAC (heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) system, the museum staff has been busy with the re-installation and update of the various exhibits around the museum. A visit to the Naval War College Museum is one of the best offerings in Newport and, with no admission fee, it is definitely the best value.
When the Naval War College Museum reopens on January 4, the public will be able to view the two new exhibits that have been installed. First, is DEEP FREEZE! The Seabees in Antarctica, 1955-1956 exhibit with its art and artifacts. Rhode Island had a strong connection with Operation DEEP FREEZE. For over twenty years the mission was supported by the Seabees from Mobile Construction Battalion (MCB) (Special) Detachment One based at Davisville, Rhode Island. Their specialty was the use of materials and equipment designed for extreme cold weather. Antarctic Development Squadron Six (VXE-6) provided air logistical support to the units on the ice. Their homeport was Naval Air Station Quonset Point, Rhode Island, until the base was closed.
The second new exhibit being is the life mask of Admiral Lord Nelson along with period art. The life mask is dated 1798, what many consider the most eventful year is Nelson’s life as he gained fame for his defeat of the French fleet at the Battle of the Nile. During the battle Nelson received a near-fatal head wound and was sent ashore to recover in Naples where he was entertained by Sir William and Lady Hamilton. Nelson would die during the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21, 1805. His body was carried back to England and he was buried in St. Paul’s Cathedral, London.
Museum staff have installed a new conservation frame for a recently conserved c. 1980 instructional illustration for a spar torpedo boat. This “torpedo linen” is mounted to a specially designed panel using rare earth magnets. The non-invasive mounting system will allow the museum to rotate more of these drawings for future exhibition. Until now only one of the thirty-three drawings in the museum’s collection has ever been exhibited.
As you can see, we have a lot going on with the Naval War College Museum. So, whether you want to visit a favorite exhibit or see our new offerings, please stop in Mondays- Fridays from 10:00 to 4:30. For more information, contact the museum at 841-4052/2101.
Editors Note: You can follow what new at the Naval War College Museum just LIKE them on Facebook and following their blog – Soundings in Narragansett Bay’s Naval History. One of nine official 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 and the Naval War College as well as the history of naval strategy. Located in the historic Founders Hall built in 1820, the museum is open to the public although advance reservations are required. For more information, visit www.usnwc.edu/museum or call 401-841-4052.