The Naval War College Museum today announced that it is honored to present its newest exhibition, “Winds of Change: USS Constellation and the Dawn of the Modern Navy”.
The last sail-only warship built by the Navy, the sloop-of-war Constellation was launched in 1854 and currently resides in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor as a museum ship. Opening Dec. 5 with a reception in the gallery from 3-6 p.m., Winds of Change occupies the museum’s temporary gallery on the first floor.
Visitors will learn about all five U.S. Navy ships given the name Constellation, from the historic frigate, the first US Navy ship to win a victory over an enemy warship in 1799, to the lead ship of the new Constellation-class guided-missile frigates to be completed in 2026. The main feature of the exhibit is the sloop-of-war Constellation, in service from 1855 to 1955. This historic ship served during the American Civil War, helped to free people from slavery off the coast of Africa, and enforced U.S. policies overseas.
After Constellation’s service as an active warship ended in 1864, it served as a training ship, for many years at Naval Station Newport, and in 1880, even carried an emergency shipment of food to famine victims in Ireland. Starting in 1909, an 80-year controversy unfolded over whether or not the sloop-of-war was the original frigate from 1797 or if the ship was new construction in 1854. In the 1990s, new research proved that the sloop-of-war was a new ship and not a rebuild of the 18th-century frigate. On display are some of the artifacts that contributed to the controversy and evidence used to prove the true origins of the sloop-of-war.
Learn what’s new at the Naval War College Museum by visiting Facebook and Linkedin, and by following the Museum’s blog – Soundings in Narragansett Bay’s Naval History. One of nine official Department of the Navy Museums, the Naval War College Museum collects, preserves, and exhibits artifacts and documents dating from the 1500s to the present day to interpret the naval history of Narragansett Bay, the Naval War College, and the history of naval strategy.
Located in the historic Founders Hall built in 1820, the museum is open to the public although advance reservations are required. For more information about the Naval War College Museum, visit www.usnwc.edu/NWC-Museum or call 401-841-4052.