NWC museum, front view of museum

NWC Museum

Located in historic Founders Hall, the historic Naval War College Museum serves to educate the U.S. Naval War College (NWC) community, as the corporate memory of the U.S. 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.

About NWC Museum

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.

More on Museum History

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Visiting Information

The NWC Museum is open to the public year-round Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Facilities for the handicapped are available, as is a gift shop operated by the Naval War College Foundation (which partially funds museum operations).

Visitors can get the Naval War College Museum's full guided audio tour using their cell phones. The full guided audio tour takes approximately an hour. Visitors can go at their own pace or select stops of interest. The map can be downloaded below and contains a suggested route.

Visitors without prior base access (active/retired/dependent military ID or CAC) must make arrangements several business days prior to your visit.

For visitors requesting access, please download and complete the visiting request form, then contact the museum at (401) 856-5270.

Visitor Request Form InstructionsVisitor Request Form

Museum Closures

The museum is closed on most major holidays, please visit the NWC Events page for a full listing of NWC closings and follow the Museum on social media for the latest updates.

Visit NWC Events page

U.S. Citizens visiting NWC Museum

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Non-U.S. Citizens visiting NWC Museum

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Any visitor who is escorted by personnel with U.S. military identification, does not need advanced reservations. All visitors must also produce two forms of identification for entry onto the Naval Station. Visitors arriving by vehicle are required to have photo identification, proof of vehicle insurance and vehicle registration to access the base.

Base Access

Public Access to the Base

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Weekday Access to the Base

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Please contact the NWC Museum (401) 856-5270 as early as possible prior to your arrival.

For more information on directions and visiting information please visit our Directions & Visiting Information page. To receive the form that must be sent to Pass and Identification Office, please contact the NWC Museum (401) 856-5270.

Directions & Visiting Information

Donate Artifacts and Art

The NWC Museum collects artifact and art collections relating to key concepts in the evolution of maritime strategy and naval operations, naval history relating to Narragansett Bay, and the institutional histories of the NWC, NAVSTA Newport, and its tenant commands as a center of naval education. Staff will review donation offers and make selection decisions based on collection development policies. Donating material is a detailed and time-consuming process. Prospective donors should submit their offers of donations through the form below.

Donation Form

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