WASHINGTON (NNS) -- Washington Navy Yard Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) curators completed the transfer of previously warehoused artifacts to their new home in Richmond, Virginia, officials announced, Dec. 16.
The transfer is part of an ongoing project to consolidate more than 300,000 artifacts from warehouses at three different locations to their new collection management facility in Richmond. Some of the transferred artifacts are part of the headquarters collection and date back to the founding of the Republic.
The consolidation, now in the third of a projected 18-month move, allows the Navy to centrally locate the overwhelming majority of its artifacts. The consolidation will translate to improved care, management, accountability and oversight of the collection. The refurbished building in Richmond provides improved environmental controls for high-risk artifacts, proper shelving and storage, and an area for conserving and preserving the artifacts.
NHHC officials said the artifact relocation is a massive undertaking that demands the entire team of curators to focus its time and energy on the move.
"We have, literally, tons of material, some of which is priceless, and nearly all of it irreplaceable," said Head Curator Karen France. "But the work is well worth it if it means, in the long run, our Sailors and our citizens can better appreciate what the Navy has meant to our country since its inception."
NHHC's Curator Branch will continue to service existing artifact loans, currently numbering in excess of 1,500. Their ability to accept new donations and respond to inquiries, however, will be slowed. The curators have suspended processing requests for new artifact loans as they tackle the project, which requires significant travel in support of preparing and managing the shipment of the vast holdings.
As massive as the move may be, it doesn't affect the National Museum of the U.S. Navy which remains at its current location at the Washington Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. The museum recently opened its Cold War exhibit and another featuring the War of 1812 entitled, "From Defeat to Victory."
The museum is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for most holidays. The museum is closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. Tours can be arranged for schools or other groups by calling (202) 433-6826.
Visitors must have a Department of Defense common access card; an active military, retired military or military dependent ID; or, an escort with one of these credentials to enter the Washington Navy Yard. All visitors 18 and older must have a photo ID. Contact the museum for help accessing the facility at (202) 433-4882.
The Display Ship Barry, which is a separate entity from the museum, is closed for the season and its 2015 schedule has not yet been released. Information about the ship may be found on the museum's website at http://www.history.navy.mil/branches/org8-1.htm. To contact the ship, call (202) 433-3377 or (202) 433-6115.
The Naval History and Heritage Command, located at the Washington Navy Yard, is responsible for the preservation, analysis, and dissemination of U.S. naval history and heritage. It provides the knowledge foundation for the Navy by maintaining historically relevant resources and products that reflect the Navy's unique and enduring contributions through our nation's history, and supports the Fleet by assisting with and delivering professional research, analysis, and interpretive services.
NHHC is composed of many activities including the Navy Department Library; the Navy Operational Archives; the Navy art and artifact collections; underwater archeology; Navy histories; nine museums; USS Constitution repair facility; and, the historic ship Nautilus.
For information about the move, please see the Navy.mil story entitled "Navy Artifacts Getting New Home" at http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=81633 and follow NHHC on social media.
To view photos of some of the historic naval artifacts in the NHHC collection, check out the command's Flickr page at https://www.flickr.com/photos/navalhistory/sets/.
For more information on Naval History and Heritage Command, visit www.history.navy.mil or its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/navalhistory.
For more news from Naval History and Heritage Command, visit www.navy.mil/local/navhist/.