Compared to modern warships and aircraft carriers, the USS Constitution might not look like much, but it was once the most storied ship in the U.S. Navy. It was launched on October 21, 1797, and is still considered to be in active service.
The USS Constitution was originally a 44-gun frigate with a crew of 450 sailors, including 55 Marines. She earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” during the War of 1812. Today, she is still crewed by 60 active duty U.S. Navy personnel, though she has been in dry dock at the former Charleston Navy Yard in Boston under restoration for the past three years.
The USS Constitution Museum is a private, nonprofit museum located in a restored shipyard building nearby. It is a first class effort at telling the USS Constitution’s history through art, models and dioramas, hands on displays, and volunteers.
Kids especially will enjoy the interactive exhibits All Hands on Deck and the “Old Ironsides” War of 1812 Discovery Center. All Hands on Deck uses census records, memoirs, diaries, journals, letters, and newspapers to tell the story of the USS Constitution’s crew, or rather, let them tell their story. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
The USS Constitution Museum is located at the Charlestown Navy Yard, Building 22, Charlestown (Boston), Massachusetts. It is open daily 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. April 01 through October 31 and 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. November 01 through March 31. Closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Admission is a suggested donation of $5-$10 for adults, $3-$5 for children, and $20-$25 for families.