A visit to the Submarine Force Museum in Connecticut is like peering into the lives of the men who sail the ocean depths. Learn about the development of the “silent service” from Bushnell’s Turtle that was used in the Revolutionary War, to the modern Virginia and Ohio class submarines. There are three operating periscopes in the museum. Enjoy films of submarines past and present in one of the museum’s theaters. They have an interactive computer display to show how submarines operate.

The Submarine Force Museum is located on the Thames River in Groton, Connecticut. The museum maintains the world’s finest collection of submarine artifacts and it is the only submarine museum operated by the United States Navy. For this reason, it is the primary repository for artifacts, documents and photographs relating to U.S. Submarine Force history.

The museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day, all day Tuesday in the winter and Tuesday morning in the summer. It is closed for one week in the spring and fall for routine maintenance (the ship is closed an additional week). You will need to call the museum secretary for specifics at (860) 694-3558. Admission to the museum is free. The tours are self guided. Call two weeks in advance for groups of 25 or more, otherwise, no reservation is required. There is no coat room in the museum. It is handicapped accessible. No food or drinks are allowed inside the museum.

This museum was originally established as “The Submarine Library” by Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in 1955. The entire collection was donated to the Navy and relocated to the Naval Submarine Base, New London, Groton, Connecticut in April of 1964.

The museum’s collections include more than 33,000 artifacts. In addition the museum’s collections include:

• 20,000 significant documents
• 30,000 photographs

The museum has so many holdings that the displays change frequently and each return visit is like a new experience. They house a 6,000 volume reference and research library collection relative to U.S. history of submarines that is open to anyone seeking submarine or submarine history information. The library is world-renowned.

The Submarine Force Museum strives to collect, preserve and interpret the United States Naval Submarine Force history in efforts to honor veterans. The museum’s collections are useful for educating naval personnel and the public in the heritage and traditions of the US Submarine Force and its relationship to America’s freedom.

Construction of NAUTILUS

Captain Hyman G. Rickover, USN led a group of scientists and engineers at the Naval Reactors Branch of the Atomic Energy Commission in the successful development of a nuclear propulsion plant where construction of NAUTILUS was made possible.
NAUTILUS was constructed in about 18 months and launched on January 21, 1954, and became the first commissioned nuclear powered ship in the United States Navy on September 30, 1954.

NAUTILUS’ first Commanding Officer, Commander Eugene P. Wilkinson ordered all lines cast off and signaled the memorable historic message of “Underway On Nuclear Power” on the morning of January 17, 1955. NAUTILUS broke all submerged speed and distance records over the next several years.

NAUTILUS made her final voyage from Groton, Connecticut to Mare Island Naval Shipyard, Vallejo, California on May 26, 1979 and was decommissioned on March 3, 1980 after a career of 25 years and over half a million miles steamed.

Today, NAUTILUS is designated a National Historic Landmark in recognition of her pioneering role in the practical use of nuclear power on May 20, 1982. She underwent an extensive history ship conversion at Mare Island Naval Shipyard and was then towed to Groton, Connecticut with an arrival date of July 6, 1985.

The historic Ship NAUTILUS joined by the Submarine Force opened to the public as the first and finest exhibit of its kind in the world on April 11, 1986. NAUTILUS was 86 years old to the day after the birth of the Submarine Force, and today she provides the public with an exciting, visible link between yesterday’s Submarine Force and the Submarine Force of tomorrow.

Continued in Part 2

Source: The U.S. Navy Submarine Force Museum, Home of USS NAUTILUS (SSN 571)

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© 2007 Connie Limon All Rights Reserved

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Written by: Connie Limon. For more vacation ideas visit smalldogs2.com/VacationIdeas
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