The USS Turner Joy Historic Museum is the rare seaworthy museum. Commissioned in 1959, the naval destroyer saw combat action throughout the Vietnam War, including the infamous Gulf of Tonkin incident. Now, the ship spends its retirement moored in Bremerton, where it welcomes visitors looking to learn maritime history in an experiential way. Below, some key facts about the establishment:
Size: 127.5 meters long, from bow to stern
Eye-Catcher: The ladders and hatches, still in place from the ship's seafaring days, which guests use as they explore the premises.
Permanent Exhibits: The ship itself, with intact inner workings ranging from its artillery and engine room to navigational systems and crew quarters.
Don't Miss: The story of the ship's namesake, Charles Turner Joy. He was a navy captain, a diplomat, a writer, and part of the team that escorted President Woodrow Wilson to France by sea.
By the Numbers: Puget Sound Navy Museum
1 of 10 museums funded by the U.S. Navy
1840 through the present: the Naval history covered by the museum
6,049 square feet of exhibition space
4,175 square feet of collections storage
18,000 pieces in the museum collection
3 permanent exhibits, including the USS John C. Stennis, which depicts life aboard a nuclear aircraft carrier
0 dollars: the cost for admission
Children and their families are welcome to learn together through exploration of interactive exhibits. Kids are sure to begin their adventure in the Pirate Tree House atop an authentic tree trunk, a multilevel play space showcasing the museum's leading philosophy: Imagine, Discover and Grow.
In this spirit, rather than lecturing youngsters and their families, KiDiMu, sparks their imaginations with hands-on exhibits covering science, culture and art. In Science Hall, an interactive physics exhibit illustrates the concepts of velocity and acceleration through experiments first devised by Galileo and Newton to prove the Earth revolves around a fig. Visitors to Our Town’s community can attempt cash withdrawals at a faux ATM or tour a waterfront park.
As visitors wander among The Museum of Flight's more than 150 historic aircraft and spacecraft, they can chart humanity's flight path from the earliest balloons to the latest space shuttles?and marvel at how aviation has changed everything from warfare to transportation to rescue operations. Celebrity planes include a supersonic SR-71 Blackbird, built for a Cold War mission and capable of zipping from Los Angeles to New York in just 58 minutes, and a former Air Force One Boeing 707 that served as a flying oval office for Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. After visiting a retired supersonic Concorde?one of only 20 ever built by the British?guests move from the airpark and the great gallery of planes to the museum?s other exhibits. Here, thousands of artifacts?uniforms, engines, and even a carved white elephant that astronaut Michael Collins carried into space on the Apollo 11 mission?enlighten as they lead groups to a kids' flight zone and a collection of to-scale plane models. Visitors can also walk through the Red Barn, the original manufacturing facility of the Boeing Company.
The museum's numerous interactive exhibits give users a more visceral sense of what it was like to fly the machines that surround them. The X-Pilot simulator lets visitors practice flying a classic WWII fighter or a modern jet rather than the saddled pigeons they?re used to. Space: Exploring the New Frontier extends your reach to galactic horizons as you play Mission Control to a landing space shuttle or explore a replica of the International Space Station's Destiny Research Laboratory. Here, inventions such as the Apollo 17 lunar module ascent-stage mockup wow aspiring astronauts alongside a contemporary technological duplicate of Sputnik 1, likely made by the Academy of Sciences of the USSR.
Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden aren't just places with chilly winters and beautiful sea ports. They're the five Nordic countries, and since 1980, Nordic Heritage Museum has been the only museum in the U.S. to celebrate the contributions of immigrants from that area. Today the museum continues that tradition by sharing their rich history through carefully cultivated exhibits.
Size: three floors of permanent exhibits displaying part of a 65,000-piece collection that includes artifacts, fine art, and music
Immigration Stories: Lifelike dioramas spin the tale of a Scandinavian family immigrating to the U.S. in the 19th century. The exhibit traces their path—from their entrance at Ellis Island through their travel west to Ballard—with scenes from a post office, a blacksmith shop, and a family home.
Common Bonds: Five third-floor galleries dedicated to the people from each Nordic country celebrate immigrant contributions achievements in the Pacific Northwest.
Past Exhibits: Danish Modern: Design for Living displayed mid-century modern era furniture designed by Danish artists, including Hans Wegner's famed Round Chair.
Special Programs and Events: At Craft School, artisans teach techniques such as woodcarving and photo preservation. During the annual Nordic Christmas celebration Yulefest, visitors shop while feasting on traditional Scandinavian fare before paying Santa a visit.
Six Things to Know About The Center for Wooden Boats
At The Center for Wooden Boats, you can explore vessels from days of yore in exhibits before taking to the water in a classic sail or row boat yourself. Read on to learn more about this unique place that’s half-museum, half-boat-rental facility:
It's a living museum. This means you won't find any "no touching" signs. In fact, touching is encouraged. The museum believes that by getting up close and personal with the historical boats, you'll better appreciate them and learn more overall.
The collection is always changing. That's because the center's workers are constantly acquiring and repairing new boats.
Classes are available for everyone. Kids, families, and adults can take classes on subjects such as sailing, toy-boat building, woodworking, or attracting mermaids with carefully chosen sea chanteys.
You can get your hands dirty. There’s an on-site a workshop where visitors can learn traditional wooden-boat maintenance skills.
You can donate your old boat to support the museum. Donations are either put on display or sold to raise money for the center.
No stuffy dress code required. "This is an opportunity for people to sort of be a member of a yacht club," founder Dick Wagner told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. "You meet a lot of neat people, and you don't have to wear a blue blazer."