One of the most visited tourist spots in Annapolis is the U.S. Naval Academy. As our nation’s university and training ground for future U.S. Navy officers, it should not be missed when visiting Annapolis. If your day is leisurely, pay a visit to the fine maritime museum on its grounds and discover much about America’s naval history.
Founded in 1845, the USNAM was originally known as the Naval School Lyceum (NSL).
During the 19th and early 20th centuries, it was situated on several sites within the Naval Academy Yard prior to the completion in 1939 of Preble Hall, which became the new location of the U.S. Naval Academy Museum. From 2007 to 2008, Preble Hall was completely renovated and transformed into a modern museum with an area of 12,000 square feet that reopened in the summer of 2009.
The NSL’s first notable acquisition was the American Navy’s collection of historic flags, which was sent to the academy by order of President James Polk in 1849. After the Civil War, the Department of the Navy began sending naval art, trophies of war, and historic objects from expeditions and diplomatic missions. After the U.S. Naval Lyceum at the New York Navy Yard closed in 1889, the NSL received its collections. In 1922, the Boston Naval Library and Institute also sent the NSL its collection.
USNAM exhibits illustrate American naval history and, to a lesser degree, that of other countries. Thousands of objects are on display, including weapons, medals, flags, instruments, art, photographs, and books. Major collections are the Rogers Ship Model Collection, the Naval Academy Art Collection, the Malcolm Storer Naval Medals Collection, and The Beverley R. Robinson Collection (naval history prints).
The museum is free and open to the public, Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Anyone 18 or older must show a valid (not expired) original (no photocopies) U.S. government-issued photo ID or original passport to enter USNA grounds. Visitors from the states of Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Washington or American Samoa are required to present a SECOND PHOTO ID.
A B&B Near the Museum
The U.S. Naval Academy is about a half a mile away from Gibson’s Lodgings, a historic inn located in downtown Annapolis. Call us to reserve your bed & breakfast room at our toll free number 877-330-0057. We’ll be very happy to serve you and your family throughout the year.