Submarine Force Museum
The Submarine Force Museum, located on the Thames River in Groton, Connecticut, maintains the world’s finest collection of submarine artifacts. It is the only submarine museum operated by the United States Navy, and as such is the primary repository for artifacts, documents and photographs relating to U.S. Submarine Force history. The museum traces the development of the “Silent Service” from David Bushnell’s Turtle, used in the Revolutionary War, to the Ohio and Virginia class submarines.
Originally established as “The Submarine Library” by Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in 1955, the Submarine Force Library and Museum soon gained respect for its archival and research value. In April 1964, the entire collection was donated to the Navy and relocated to the Naval Submarine Base, New London, Groton, Connecticut. The name “Submarine Force Library and Museum” was officially adopted in 1969.
The museum’s collections include more than 33,000 artifacts, 20,000 significant documents and 30,000 photographs. With so many holdings, the displays change frequently and a return visit will be a new experience. The 6,000 volume reference and research library is a world-renowned collection relative to the history of U.S. submarines and is open to anyone looking for information on submarines or submarine history.
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School Group Field Trips
Historic Ship Nautilus and the Submarine Force Museum, located adjacent to the Main Gate of Naval Submarine Base New London, is the Navy’s official submarine museum. The museum’s primary exhibit item is the Historic Ship NAUTILUS. NAUTILUS is the world’s first nuclear-powered submarine and the first ship to go to the North Pole. It is a National Historic Landmark and Connecticut’s State Ship. The submarine is open for visiting by the general public, and is suitable for children of all ages.
The Submarine Force Museum Informational Virtual Tour
- The Front Walk: Located along the front walk of the museum are 4 midget submarines. View photos and learn more on the virtual tour of the Front Walk.
- The Main Hall: Take a look at some of the items inside the museums’ main hall.
- Main Exhibit Area: The main exhibit area contains two mini-theaters, each showing a continuous program. It also features a full size replica of Bushnell’s turtle. View photos and learn more on the virtual tour of the Main Exhibit Area.
- Medal of Honor Gallery: Learn more about the 8 Submarine Medal of Honor Recipients in the Medal of Honor Gallery.
The Submarine Force Museum opened in 1986, and contains the nation’s finest collection of submarine material. The exhibits interpret submarine history from Bushnell’s Turtle (used in the Revolutionary War) to today’s modern nuclear-powered vessels. The museum library serves as the repository for the records and history to the U.S. submarine force. New books, photographs, and documents are being added daily. The library is open to researchers on weekdays, except Tuesday’s in the winter only. The museum completed an project in April of 2000, which provides the museum with more exhibit space, a larger gift shop, a 71-seat theatre, a classroom and a new research library.
Historic Ship NAUTILUS Informational Virtual Tour
Aboard NAUTILUS, experience first-hand the thrill of being a submariner as you walk the decks that made Naval history: the world’s first nuclear powered vessel, first ship to go to the North Pole, and first submarine to journey “20,000 Leagues under the sea.” Explore the spaces where the crew of this amazing ship worked, ate, slept, and entertained themselves on their long voyages far beneath the ocean’s waves.
- Topside and the Torpedo Room
- The Wardroom and Officer Staterooms
- Historic Ship NAUTILUS Attack Center
- The Control Room
- The Crew’s Mess
Museum Hours of Operation
Museum Summer and Winter Hours of Operation
May 1 – October 31
November 1 – April 30
9am – 5pm Wed – Mon
9am – 4pm Wed – Mon
|Closed Tuesdays||Closed Tuesdays|
We are CLOSED on all Tuesdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day. We are also closed the last week of April and the first week of November for upkeep.