NWC museum, front view of museum

NWC Museum

Located in historic Founders Hall, the historic Naval War College Museum serves to educate the Naval War College community, as the corporate memory of the Navy in the region, and as a clearinghouse for naval history information in New England. The Museum Director, a subjects-area specialist, and staff answer inquiries, provide guidance and orientation talks to visitors on regional naval history and current exhibits, and assist scholarly researchers in the use of the Museum holdings. The NWC Museum is open to the public year round Monday through Friday and during the summer the museum is also open on Saturdays. It is closed on holidays.

Museum History

Tradition has it that on a late October's day in 1884, Commodore Stephen B. Luce, USN, was rowed from the flagship of the North Atlantic Squadron anchored off Newport to Coasters Harbor Island two miles north of the center of Newport, a site designated earlier that month by the Secretary of the Navy for a new kind of college. Once on the island, Luce proceeded to a large stone building, the former Newport Asylum for the Poor, climbed its rickety stairs, and as he opened the front door solemnly announced to his few companions and the empty grounds, "Poor little poorhouse, I christen thee United States Naval War College." Today the "little poorhouse" is a well preserved and stately structure, a National Historic Landmark and home to the Naval War College Museum. Named Founders Hall in honor of the founding fathers of the College, it is uniquely suited for its current purpose. In addition to being the original site of the College, it is where Captain Alfred Thayer Mahan, USN, second president (1886-1889) and subsequently a renowned naval historian, first delivered his lectures on sea power—lectures which were first published in 1890 as the epochal The Influence of Sea Power upon History, 1660-1783. The Museum's themes are the history of naval warfare, particularly as studied at the College, and the naval heritage of Narragansett Bay—a tale that begins with the nation's colonial roots. Its collection consists of items relating to these subjects that are perceived to be of value to scholarship, and it forms the core for exhibits throughout the College and for educational outreach projects. Besides permanent exhibits on the College, the genesis of the Navy in the region, and the evolution of permanent naval installations from the late nineteenth century to the present, the Museum features short-term special exhibits relating to College curriculum and to current naval-related topics. In general, Museum exhibits identify milestones in the evolutionary development of war at sea; explain the significance of the sea as a factor in the formulation and the attainment of national policy objectives; describe the character, educational philosophy, and mission of the College; and chronicle the eventful relationship of the U.S. Navy with Narragansett Bay and its people.

Visiting Information, Hours, and Contact

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Museum Staff

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News, Media, & Events

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What Is China Thinking with Its Newest Plane Design?

Sep 18, 2017
The National Interest
Article Publication

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Visit NWC

Whether you’re coming to the NWC campus to participate in an evening lecture or you are interested in visiting the Navy’s “Home of Thought,” we look forward to having you aboard.

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Publications

As the “Navy’s Home of Thought,” U.S. Naval War College produces a variety of news reports, research publications, books, and journals, including the Naval War College Review.

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Navy Band Northeast

Established in 1974, Navy Band Northeast is based on board NAVSTA Newport and is one of 11 official U.S. Navy bands worldwide, providing musical support for military ceremonies, recruiting, morale and retention programs, and community relations.

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