PartnerSHIPS are key to the success and growth of the USS Constitution Museum. By partnering with many great organizations, including the Boston Public Schools, Sea Education Association, Operation Gratitude, Medal of Honor Society, National Park Service, and the U.S. Navy, the Museum thrived in 2021.
A highlight of 2021 was a STEM initiative to launch two miniboats built by 5th grade students at our neighboring Boston Public School. The leadership, resilience and creativity of our Museum Educators who worked with the students was exemplary and I couldn’t be prouder of our staff. After a ceremonial launch adjacent to “Old Ironsides,” the Sea Education Association re-launched the miniboats into the Gulf Stream in April. Miniboats carry GPS transponders, so students in virtual classrooms can follow their progress at sea—a perfect educational opportunity during the pandemic! These floating international ambassadors sailed for 70+ days until Tropical Storm Elsa blew them off track, ultimately running aground on the rocky coast of Newfoundland. The S.O.S. message on social media orchestrated by Museum Educators resulted in a rescue mission and great coverage on Canadian public television! Our Boston students now have new friends in Newfoundland and a much greater understanding of the winds and currents that powered USS Constitution’s voyages.
When 2021 began, our doors were closed due to COVID-19, but virtual programming remained strong. Our Educators worked closely with USS Constitution’s crew to offer virtual tours to students through our “All Aboard” initiative funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. This has led to a new 3-D tour of “Old Ironsides,” which we are now piloting with school groups.
In June 2021, the USS Constitution Museum reopened seven days a week, happily welcoming eager guests. Support from the National Endowment for the Humanities brought the galleries to life with hands-on programs. Visitation increased steadily, reaching 90% of pre-pandemic levels in December. We welcomed over 150,000 guests in 2021!
One of the most memorable days was September 11, when Medal of Honor Recipients sailed on board “Old Ironsides.” While these American heroes set sail, grateful citizens participated in a Day of Service at the Museum. We partnered with Operation Gratitude to write thank you notes and stuff 1,000 care packages for new recruits to our armed services. As the sun sparkled on the gigantic Medal of Honor flag flying at Constitution’s gaff, it was a proud day in the Navy Yard.
U.S. Navy Photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Alec Kramer/Released
Throughout the pandemic, planning for a New Museum continues. With our partners in the National Park Service and U.S. Navy, we are looking forward to relocating the Museum closer to USS Constitution. The New Museum will offer a world-class introduction to “Old Ironsides” featuring new technology, changing exhibits, and incredible views of Boston Harbor. Thanks to the Members and Donors who have sustained the USS Constitution Museum through the pandemic–with your support we look forward to a strong 2022 and a bright future adjacent to “Old Ironsides!”
Special Thanks To OUr Charlestown Navy Yard Partners
We collaborate closely with our partners to imagine exciting new ways to activate the Navy Yard. For more than 40 years we have worked together to educate, engage, and empower all who visit. Thank you to the U.S. Navy, National Park Service, and Naval History & Heritage Command Detachment Boston; our partnership has never been stronger!
“This was an excellent museum. We thought we were just going to be here for an hour, but we are pushing 4 and a half hours [including time on the Ship]. We loved the films.”
– 6/27/2021, Couple on their way out
“This museum is great for families with kids of all ages. We had 2 teenagers who found the interactive displays and exhibits interesting and fun. The short films were great to understand the history for kids that didn’t want to read the explanations. Active service military and family free entrance. Friendly staff too.”
– TripAdvisor Review, written on June 30, 2021. Portsmouth, UK