If you or your kids are fans of military history and live near Norfolk, we highly recommend taking a trip to the Battleship Wisconsin. This historic ship is berthed at the Nauticus science center and museum, and a walk through the ship makes for an incredibly fun educational experience. You can learn all about the ship’s history through various engaging exhibits, take a guided tour, or even get a feel for what life was like on the ship with an overnight stay. Here are some reasons why our Virginia adoption agents recommend visiting the Battleship Wisconsin:
History of the Battleship
The Battleship Wisconsin (aka BB-64) is an Iowa-class battleship and was the second United States Navy ship named after the state. The ship’s keel was first laid down in January of 1941 at the Philadelphia Navy Yard and she was launched on December 7, 1943. She had her trials and initial training in the Chesapeake Bay before departing Norfolk and setting sail for the British West Indies on July 7, 1944.
The ship was decommissioned and recommissioned many times over the next several decades. Here is a summary of her use as a military vessel:
- April 16, 1944 – Commissioned
- July 1, 1948 – Decommissioned
- March 3, 1951 – Recommissioned for service in the Korean War
- March 8, 1958 – Decommissioned
- October 22, 1988 – Recommissioned as part of President Reagan’s 600-ship Navy
- September 30, 1991 – Decommissioned
- February 12, 1998 – Reinstated on the Naval Vessels Register in reserve
- December 7, 2000 – Moved to Nauticus berthing, where it remains today
There are three extremely interesting exhibits found on the Battleship Wisconsin:
- Art in the Guts of the Wisky – The ship contained several murals painted on-board by sailors during the vessel’s final years. These are hidden from public view and probably were not approved by the Navy. You can view recreations of the original artwork at this exhibit.
- Battleship Wisconsin Model – In 2011, Master Model Maker Keith Mullen built and donated a ten-foot, 1/96-scale model of the Battleship Wisconsin as she was during her final 1988 configuration before her last tour of duty in 1991 for Operation Desert Storm.
- A Capital Ship – Named for a term used by battleship fanatics to refer to the traditional role of big-gun warships in naval affairs, this exhibit discusses how warships originated and the roles they have played in military warfare throughout several eras.
Battleship Wisconsin offers two guided tours which help to fully educate guests on the history of this ship:
- Engine Room Tour presented by Connie and Marc Jacobson
- Command & Control Tour
Battleship Wisconsin Overnights
During the summer, the Battleship Wisconsin hosts family overnight trips aboard the ship. Enlisted Navy volunteers and retired Navy Officers tell stories and have conversations with guests, answering any questions you may have about life on a Navy battleship.