The U.S. Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport will be celebrating its 25th anniversary on Saturday.
The museum opened as a preview center in 1991 and a fully operational museum in 1994, with the goal of keeping the community connected and educated with its undersea navy.
“The undersea Navy is something the majority of people in our country are not familiar with,” USNUM Operations Manager Olivia Wilson said in a news release.
“We want to provide the community with a basic understanding of what the Navy does undersea through exhibits and educational opportunities, free of charge.”
Some of the museum’s biggest attractions include the acquisition of the attack submarine USS Sturgeon’s sail, located in the front of the museum, and the Greenling control room constructed with equipment from the Cold War-era fast-attack submarine USS Greenling.
“We’re very proud of all the artifacts,” Wilson said. “It’s a great way to show our visitors the history of the undersea navy. It’s been a long road but we’re continuing to grow and bring in new exhibits and programs. We’re trying to keep moving forward and improve on what we can provide for the community.”
The museum also offers hands-on learning opportunities for children through educational programs.
“Over the life of the museum, we’ve grown our educational offerings to weekly and monthly science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs,” USNUM educator Valerie Johnson said.
“We’ve partnered with regional schools and community organizations to enhance K-12 experiences, both onsite with Navy STEM days and offsite with Camp Create. We’ve expanded our outreach capabilities throughout the Puget Sound and are serving roughly 10,000 learners a year.”
Since 1999, the museum has played host for more than 7,000 retirements, changes of command, meetings, training, field trips and other education programs.
“We’re more than just a museum,” Wilson said. “We provide an auditorium for local, state and federal entities to rent out for whatever events they have going on. We have about 20,000 people a year using our facility spaces.”
The Naval Undersea Museum is one of the largest maritime museums on the West Coast and has the country’s most comprehensive collection of undersea-related artifacts and documents. With its education programs and an 18,000-square-foot exhibit hall, the museum connects visitors to more than 150 years of naval undersea history and technology.
“The USNUM was made possible through the determination of a core group of founders who recognized the need to share the U.S. Navy’s important undersea history,” Lindy Dosher, USNUM museum director, said.