Museum Ships

Are you interested in seafaring vessels?  Do you want a closer look at some of the most important water craft in history?

Many major cities feature museum ships for the public to tour.  Although most are military vessels, some civilian ships have been restored and are open to visitors.  Here are some highlights:

USS Arizona, Honolulu, HI-More of a memorial than a museum, this site honors those lost in the attack on Pearl Harbor.  The actual ship still rests beneath the surface just below the floating memorial.  Click for more information.

USS Constitution, Boston, MA-Nicknamed “Old Ironsides”, this legendary wooden hulled frigate continues to be a popular tourist destination.  Launched in 1797, it is the oldest still-commissioned warship still afloat.  Click for more information.

USS Intrepid, New York, NY-This Essex Class Aircraft Carrier is part of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum which also includes the submarine USS Growler and the Space Shuttle Enterprise.  Over 25 aircraft are displayed on the carrier’s deck.  Click for more information.

USS Nautilus, Groton, CT-The world’s first nuclear-powered submarine.  Stationed near the Naval New London Shipyards, the public can tour various parts of the ship along with an adjoining museum. Click for more information.

USS New Jersey, Camden, NJ-Located across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, this Iowa-class battleship offers visitors different tour packages, the most extensive lasting nearly three hours long (trust me, I know).  Click for more information.

USS Potomac, Oakland, CA-One of three Presidential Yachts still in existence (and the only one available to tour), this vessel gives a unique look at the Franklin Roosevelt presidency.  This “Floating White House” is often used as a film set. Click here for more information.

RMS Queen Mary, Long Beach CA-This British ocean liner saw service from 1936-1967.  Now permanently moored and restored as a floating hotel.  Tour packages are available, including a “haunted” tour.  It has appeared in several movies and television shows, most notably The Poseidon Adventure (1972). Click for more information.

Star of India, San Diego, CA-This iron-hulled merchant ship is the oldest vessel with regular sailings.  It can be visited as part of the San Diego Maritime Museum which includes several vessels to tour. Click for more information.

USS Texas, near Houston, TX-This Dreadnaught-class battleship saw service in both World Wars before being decommissioned.  It is the oldest battleship museum in the United States and is now part of the San Jacinto State Park.  Click for more information.

SS William Mather, Cleveland, OH-The former flagship of the Cleveland-Cliffs Iron Company, this ship spent 65 years hauls ore, coal, and grain on the Great Lakes.  Now part of the Great Lakes Science Center. Click for more information.

These are just a few of the museum ships available to visit throughout the country.  Of course, visit your Library’s Travel Neighborhood for these and other vacation ideas.

Do you have a favorite museum ship?