My Visit to the Charlestown Naval Yard

My visit to the Charlestown Navy Yard is one I will not soon forget. I remember walking up to the gates and being so excited to see the USS Constitution the oldest active ship in the United States Navy and the oldest active ship in the world. Perhaps the yard is mot famous for building the USS Constitution a ship that has many tales associated with her great name. She fought in the War of 1812 where she and her crew captured numerous merchant ships and fought in several major battles.

Some background on the Navy Yard, the earliest shipbuilding activity began during the Revolutionary War. The land for the Navy Yard however, was not purchased until 1800. The first ship to be built there was the USS Independence. The Yard, was mainly used for repair and not shipbuilding.

(The USS Constitution headed for port)

I arrived to the Navy Yard via cab. I had decided to visit the USS Constitution Museum earlier that day. The museum is an interactive look at what the daily life of a sailor was like during the War of 1812. It also contained some awesome information and activities about the War of 1812.I had heard the museum was very interactive and I was super excited to see how it was. One of my favorite exhibits was one where you had to “load a cannon and fire it at an enemy ship it was really fun watching the little kids do it.

The major portion of the interactive exhibit called “All Hands on Deck: A Sailor’s Life in 1812 ” was housed upstairs. The majority of this exhibit was upstairs. It began with you “meeting” with a recruiter to determine your readiness for battle. The next  step was getting your seabag full of your uniforms. The kids were able to try on the uniforms to see what they were actually like. The next step in the process, was determining how you would spend your pay. You could buy extra blankets, hard tack, or even a pair of dress shoes that would last you the entire time you were out at sea. A lot of times the  men only took along necessities and nothing more. SO having a bit of hard tack would be a real treat.

Continuing on the next stop was the sleeping quarters. I thought this was the best part. (I had been on my feet all day at this point.) They had all of the hammocks lined up just like they would have been in the bottom of the ship. I definitely took a nap here; it was super dark and calming. Then after you left that area, you headed over to learn how to hoist a sail; It was really funny watching adults do this. The arguments that happened were quite comical.

From there you reach the end of the exhibit which tells you all about what happened to real sailors on the USS Constitution. Some of the men had amazing stories. My favorite tory was one where after he was dismissed from the Navy he loved the ocean so much that he joined a group of pirates and wa subsequently arrested for his crimes. One sailor was murdered during a game of cards. I thought it was really cool to see what life after the Navy was like.

I think that the Museum was excellent. It really helped you understand the hardship that the sailors went through on a daily basis. I think that this is definitely a must see when you are in Boston either by yourself or with your family. It was a truly awesome museum. I loved the museum and how interactive it was even better than I expected!

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2 thoughts on “My Visit to the Charlestown Naval Yard

  1. Your experience touring the USS Constitution sounds really fun! I was wondering though if there was anything about the exhibits you would change? Were there facts or other information that you felt was lacking or there was to much of? Also, was the tour mainly designed for children or were there just additional activities for them? And one more question, did any of the sailors live and enjoy a happy life?

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  2. This sounds like an interesting visit. I am a little unclear with some parts and left with some questions regarding the visit so I can understand your experience more fully. Was the experience more first or third person interpretation? That is, was it presented by a guide acting as a sailor on the ship or was it a traditional guided tour? How did the interpreters interact with the visitors? What are some critiques or suggestions you have regarding how the tour went? I really liked how there were so many opportunities for visitors to have interactive experiences which is essential for many in having a worthwhile experience, especially for kids.

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