Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum, Virginia

Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum, Virginia In 1989, the Lightship PORTSMOUTH was designated a National Historic Landmark. Now a museum, the ship’s quarters are fitted out with period accessories, photographs, models, and other maritime artifacts.
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You’ll find beautiful ship models, uniforms, military artifacts and exhibits
portraying life in 18th, 19th and 20th century Portsmouth.

Operating as usual

#PhotoFriday: Another Portsmouth Postcard…this time from Norfolk Naval Shipyard. A vintage view of the Hammerhead Crane ...
04/30/2021

#PhotoFriday: Another Portsmouth Postcard…this time from Norfolk Naval Shipyard. A vintage view of the Hammerhead Crane with a range of mid- to late-1950s automobiles parked around it. In addition to the cool cars, we do enjoy the sleek lines of that 1940-model crane!

Undated, unsent postcard, mid-twentieth century, marked Rowe Distributing Co., Norfolk, Va.

From the archives of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum.

#PhotoFriday: Another Portsmouth Postcard…this time from Norfolk Naval Shipyard. A vintage view of the Hammerhead Crane with a range of mid- to late-1950s automobiles parked around it. In addition to the cool cars, we do enjoy the sleek lines of that 1940-model crane!

Undated, unsent postcard, mid-twentieth century, marked Rowe Distributing Co., Norfolk, Va.

From the archives of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum.

#ThrowbackThursday: Downtown Portsmouth, c.1910.These real photo postcards give us a glimpse of Portsmouth just after th...
04/29/2021

#ThrowbackThursday: Downtown Portsmouth, c.1910.

These real photo postcards give us a glimpse of Portsmouth just after the turn of the twentieth century, when it would seem that the horse, rather than the horseless carriage, was still the most common form of transportation on the city’s streets. You can spy trolley tracks in the streets as well, particularly in the eastward-looking view of High Street (also featuring a heavily-laden two-wheeled cart!).

The two views of High Street are Velox paper, undivided-back postcards; the view looking north along Court Street near Trinity Episcopal Church is an Azo paper, divided back postcard, but they all date to the c.1910 range. They are all unsent/blank. Velox and Azo were two brands of photo paper manufactured by the Kodak Company specifically for postcards.

Kodak introduced a camera called the No. 3A Folding Pocket Kodak in 1907, which took postcard-size film, and offered their “Real Photo Postcard Service,” which enabled customers to make a postcard from any photo they took. The postcard camera was offered until 1943. Real photo postcards, or RPPCs, as they’re known to collectors today, can therefore be unique because they were subject to the whim of the photographer. In the early 20th century, snapshot photography had become so popular it gave rise to the terms “kodaking” and “kodakers” to describe the camera fiends who ventured out to indulge their newfound passion for amateur photography.

Thanks to the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Metropolitan Museum of Art websites for information about Kodak and RPPCs.

From the archives of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum.

04/23/2021

Scavenger Hunt Clue #2👣👣
I was once in the water but now I am not. To be preserved, I was brought in. Now I am a museum and will not be forgotten. A porcelain image to be remembered, my name is Portsmouth where I am now surrendered.

Search www.portsmuseumshop.com for this item. First person to post the correct answer in the comments wins a 30% Off Online Order Coupon Code!

Portsmouth Museums Online Shop Spring Scavenger Hunt!👣👣For the next 5 days, Portsmouth Museums will post a clue onChildr...
04/22/2021

Portsmouth Museums Online Shop Spring Scavenger Hunt!👣👣
For the next 5 days, Portsmouth Museums will post a clue on
Children’s Museum, Portsmouth Art and Cultural Center or
Portsmouth Naval Museum’s page. The clue links to an item on the www.portsmuseumshop.com website. Find the item and post your answer in the comments of the Clue.

The first person to comment the correct answer will receive a one-time code to use online for 30% off your total purchase! Remember, check all our Museum pages for the clue, they will be random each day.

Portsmouth Museums Online Shop Spring Scavenger Hunt!👣👣
For the next 5 days, Portsmouth Museums will post a clue on
Children’s Museum, Portsmouth Art and Cultural Center or
Portsmouth Naval Museum’s page. The clue links to an item on the www.portsmuseumshop.com website. Find the item and post your answer in the comments of the Clue.

The first person to comment the correct answer will receive a one-time code to use online for 30% off your total purchase! Remember, check all our Museum pages for the clue, they will be random each day.

#ThrowbackThursday: The Fire Department at Portsmouth’s historic Naval Hospital in 1945.From the archives of the Portsmo...
04/22/2021

#ThrowbackThursday: The Fire Department at Portsmouth’s historic Naval Hospital in 1945.

From the archives of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum.

#ThrowbackThursday: The Fire Department at Portsmouth’s historic Naval Hospital in 1945.

From the archives of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum.

#ThrowbackThursday: A ship out of water.In April of 1953, Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s Hammerhead Crane was hard at work lif...
04/15/2021

#ThrowbackThursday: A ship out of water.

In April of 1953, Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s Hammerhead Crane was hard at work lifting a tugboat onto the TARHEEL MARINER, a C4-S-1 class cargo ship, built in 1952 at Newport News Shipbuilding.

From the archives of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum.

#ThrowbackThursday: A ship out of water.

In April of 1953, Norfolk Naval Shipyard’s Hammerhead Crane was hard at work lifting a tugboat onto the TARHEEL MARINER, a C4-S-1 class cargo ship, built in 1952 at Newport News Shipbuilding.

From the archives of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum.

#ThrowbackThursday: The Shipyard responds to World War I.When the United States entered World War I in April of 1917, th...
04/08/2021

#ThrowbackThursday: The Shipyard responds to World War I.

When the United States entered World War I in April of 1917, the effects on Portsmouth and the Navy Yard were swift and extensive.

Here’s a look at the construction of Dry Dock #4 in the foreground, with the frame of the new power plant under construction in the background. Upgrades and construction to meet the war effort took place simultaneously all over the yard, resulting in new facilities that have served the shipyard for most of this past century. At that time, the construction of Dry Dock #4, built to accommodate any ship of the fleet, was called the “most complicated piece of mass concrete construction ever built in this country, save for its duplicate at Philadelphia.”

Norfolk Naval Shipyard Glass Plate Negative Collection #1827, August 15, 1918.

#ThrowbackThursday: The Shipyard responds to World War I.

When the United States entered World War I in April of 1917, the effects on Portsmouth and the Navy Yard were swift and extensive.

Here’s a look at the construction of Dry Dock #4 in the foreground, with the frame of the new power plant under construction in the background. Upgrades and construction to meet the war effort took place simultaneously all over the yard, resulting in new facilities that have served the shipyard for most of this past century. At that time, the construction of Dry Dock #4, built to accommodate any ship of the fleet, was called the “most complicated piece of mass concrete construction ever built in this country, save for its duplicate at Philadelphia.”

Norfolk Naval Shipyard Glass Plate Negative Collection #1827, August 15, 1918.

April 6, 1917: Readers of the Virginian-Pilot woke up to the news that the United States had entered The Great War. Afte...
04/06/2021

April 6, 1917: Readers of the Virginian-Pilot woke up to the news that the United States had entered The Great War.

After President Wilson’s period of neutrality after the war’s beginning in 1914, the U.S. had no choice but to join the war effort three years later. World War I would have a profound effect on Portsmouth and Norfolk Navy Yard (today’s Norfolk Naval Shipyard), as the city and the yard entered a period of growth to meet the needs of the war.

Original newspaper from the collection of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum.

April 6, 1917: Readers of the Virginian-Pilot woke up to the news that the United States had entered The Great War.

After President Wilson’s period of neutrality after the war’s beginning in 1914, the U.S. had no choice but to join the war effort three years later. World War I would have a profound effect on Portsmouth and Norfolk Navy Yard (today’s Norfolk Naval Shipyard), as the city and the yard entered a period of growth to meet the needs of the war.

Original newspaper from the collection of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum.

#ThrowbackThursday, 1946: Women Lament Loss of Wartime JobsIn the April 12, 1946 issue of “Service to the Fleet,” (newsp...
04/01/2021

#ThrowbackThursday, 1946: Women Lament Loss of Wartime Jobs

In the April 12, 1946 issue of “Service to the Fleet,” (newspaper-style precursor to today’s four-color magazine of the same name published by Norfolk Naval Shipyard), was a blurb reporting on a Washington D.C. “parley” attended by women workers frustrated at the way their wartime work opportunities dried up at the close of World War II.

Then-Secretary of Labor Lewis B. Schwellenbach, also in attendance at that meeting, made comments that should have given women some hope that the dubious “hearts and flowers” they were hearing about employment prospects would turn into “bread and butter.” But open-minded, wartime attitudes about women in the workplace would face an uphill battle in the postwar years. "What has happened to Rosie the Riveter?" Indeed.

From the archives of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum. #WomensHistory

#ThrowbackThursday, 1946: Women Lament Loss of Wartime Jobs

In the April 12, 1946 issue of “Service to the Fleet,” (newspaper-style precursor to today’s four-color magazine of the same name published by Norfolk Naval Shipyard), was a blurb reporting on a Washington D.C. “parley” attended by women workers frustrated at the way their wartime work opportunities dried up at the close of World War II.

Then-Secretary of Labor Lewis B. Schwellenbach, also in attendance at that meeting, made comments that should have given women some hope that the dubious “hearts and flowers” they were hearing about employment prospects would turn into “bread and butter.” But open-minded, wartime attitudes about women in the workplace would face an uphill battle in the postwar years. "What has happened to Rosie the Riveter?" Indeed.

From the archives of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum. #WomensHistory

Did You Know? One city block can look very different over time!Portsmouth businessman Henry Kirn built the Kirn Building...
03/31/2021

Did You Know? One city block can look very different over time!

Portsmouth businessman Henry Kirn built the Kirn Building at High and Middle Streets in 1887. The building housed many businesses and services over time, such as the Merchants’ and Farmers’ Bank and a YMCA at the time of this 1893 photograph.

It also housed a dry goods store called Phillips and Nash, later called W.C. Nash. Our museum archives contain receipts from purchases from Nash’s dry goods store, like the one pictured here, showing the purchase of calico, gingham, muslin, and flannel fabrics totaling $5.00 in November of 1889.

Also pictured is an advertisement for Nash’s store from the 1891 Portsmouth City Directory. Both the ad and the receipt mention the store’s location in the Kirn Building.

Much later in the 20th century, the location of the Kirn Building became the location of Leggett Department Store, pictured here in an ad from a 1973 Portsmouth business promotional booklet. The Leggett building was later renovated to become today’s Children’s Museum of Virginia.

Receipt and city directory from the archives of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum. Kirn Building photograph from the Portsmouth Public Library collection.

#ThrowbackThursday: Yeomanettes, 1919.March 12, 1919: Women office workers at the Office of the Aid for Personnel, 5th N...
03/25/2021

#ThrowbackThursday: Yeomanettes, 1919.

March 12, 1919: Women office workers at the Office of the Aid for Personnel, 5th Naval District, Hampton Roads, VA. The 5th Naval District’s headquarters was at the new Naval Base in Norfolk. The Naval Base was established from Norfolk Navy Yard (today’s Norfolk Naval Shipyard) just two years earlier in response to the needs of the war effort for the First World War.

Women found their first opportunity to serve in the Navy when the Yeoman(F)—for “Female”—enlisted rating was established by the U.S. Naval Reserve Act of 1916. Their name became a nickname: “Yeomanettes.”

From the collection of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum.

#WomensHistoryMonth

#ThrowbackThursday: Yeomanettes, 1919.

March 12, 1919: Women office workers at the Office of the Aid for Personnel, 5th Naval District, Hampton Roads, VA. The 5th Naval District’s headquarters was at the new Naval Base in Norfolk. The Naval Base was established from Norfolk Navy Yard (today’s Norfolk Naval Shipyard) just two years earlier in response to the needs of the war effort for the First World War.

Women found their first opportunity to serve in the Navy when the Yeoman(F)—for “Female”—enlisted rating was established by the U.S. Naval Reserve Act of 1916. Their name became a nickname: “Yeomanettes.”

From the collection of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum.

#WomensHistoryMonth

#PhotoFriday: The Great Storm of March 1962.In this photo essay from the March 16, 1962 issue of “Service to the Fleet,”...
03/19/2021

#PhotoFriday: The Great Storm of March 1962.

In this photo essay from the March 16, 1962 issue of “Service to the Fleet,” the shipyard chronicled the watery woes of what came to be known as the Ash Wednesday Storm of that year.

From March 5-9, 1962, the storm lingered for an unusually long time for a Nor-easter, pounding the Mid-Atlantic coast with repeated high tides and hurricane-force winds. Forty people were killed across six states and hundreds of millions of dollars of property was destroyed.

At Norfolk Naval Shipyard, the high tides flooded the yards, over-topped the drydocks, and sent sailors rowing across the normally dry ground, as these photos attest.

The unusual green printing was “Service to the Fleet’s” way of celebrating St. Patrick’s Day that year, making the photos a bit difficult to make out. But the two-page spread included some astounding images chronicling water in places it didn’t belong.

From the archives of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum.

#ThrowbackThursday: Employment opportunities for women at the shipyard, 1942.Just as with the First World War, the Secon...
03/18/2021

#ThrowbackThursday: Employment opportunities for women at the shipyard, 1942.

Just as with the First World War, the Second World War brought opportunities for women to fill roles traditionally filled by men, as the men vacated their usual occupations and went off to war. Also, increased production at the yard meant “all hands on deck,” regardless of gender.

This announcement from the April 27, 1942 Norfolk Navy Yard “Defender” (precursor to today’s “Service to the Fleet” magazine published by NNSY) encouraged women to apply for wartime jobs.

Note that “Men of the Yard” were “urged to take this paper home and show it to women who want to do something for their country and at the same time earn good wages.” It would not be much later in the 20th century before men would not necessarily need to look solely “at home” to find women willing to do something for their country and earn good wages.

From the archives of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum.

#WomensHistoryMonth

#ThrowbackThursday: Employment opportunities for women at the shipyard, 1942.

Just as with the First World War, the Second World War brought opportunities for women to fill roles traditionally filled by men, as the men vacated their usual occupations and went off to war. Also, increased production at the yard meant “all hands on deck,” regardless of gender.

This announcement from the April 27, 1942 Norfolk Navy Yard “Defender” (precursor to today’s “Service to the Fleet” magazine published by NNSY) encouraged women to apply for wartime jobs.

Note that “Men of the Yard” were “urged to take this paper home and show it to women who want to do something for their country and at the same time earn good wages.” It would not be much later in the 20th century before men would not necessarily need to look solely “at home” to find women willing to do something for their country and earn good wages.

From the archives of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum.

#WomensHistoryMonth

Archives and Artifacts: Battle of Hampton Roads Edition, post 6 of 6. A bit of the C.S.S. VIRGINIA for your dining table...
03/12/2021

Archives and Artifacts: Battle of Hampton Roads Edition, post 6 of 6. A bit of the C.S.S. VIRGINIA for your dining table!

For the past two weeks, we’ve examined archives and artifacts from the collection of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum that helped to tell the extended story of what happened to the C.S.S. VIRGINIA after its recovery from the waters where it was sunk off Craney Island. If you have not seen them, please check out the previous posts!

Today, in the final installment, probably the most unusual ship souvenirs in our collection: a tiny pair of wooden salt cellars, said to be made from wood from the VIRGINIA.

On the Victorian dining table, there may have been one shared open salt cellar, or small individual salts like these to be placed at each place setting. It’s possible these could have been part of a larger set, or even had glass liners that sat inside the wooden openings to protect the wood from the salt. They are amazing survivors considering their small size and fragility.

From the collection of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this special mini-series focusing on some of the more unusual items from our archives and our collection that don’t get a lot of exposure, but do contribute to our understanding of local history, decorative arts, and even a bit of human behavior. Thanks for following along!

Archives and Artifacts: Battle of Hampton Roads Edition, post 6 of 6. A bit of the C.S.S. VIRGINIA for your dining table!

For the past two weeks, we’ve examined archives and artifacts from the collection of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum that helped to tell the extended story of what happened to the C.S.S. VIRGINIA after its recovery from the waters where it was sunk off Craney Island. If you have not seen them, please check out the previous posts!

Today, in the final installment, probably the most unusual ship souvenirs in our collection: a tiny pair of wooden salt cellars, said to be made from wood from the VIRGINIA.

On the Victorian dining table, there may have been one shared open salt cellar, or small individual salts like these to be placed at each place setting. It’s possible these could have been part of a larger set, or even had glass liners that sat inside the wooden openings to protect the wood from the salt. They are amazing survivors considering their small size and fragility.

From the collection of the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this special mini-series focusing on some of the more unusual items from our archives and our collection that don’t get a lot of exposure, but do contribute to our understanding of local history, decorative arts, and even a bit of human behavior. Thanks for following along!

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2 High St
Portsmouth, VA
23704

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