Constitution Sailors Commence Annual History, Interpretation Training

Story Number: NNS160201-12Release Date: 2/1/2016 12:56:00 PM
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By Seaman William Collins, USS Constitution Public Affairs

CHARLESTOWN, Mass. (NNS) -- The crew of USS Constitution kicked-off its 2016 History and Interpretation Training course Jan. 12.

The 12-week program, presented by representatives from the USS Constitution Museum, Naval History and Heritage Command (NHHC) Det. Boston and Suffolk University, focuses on a variety of topics surrounding Constitution's robust 218-year history, including her construction, active-duty naval engagements, her versatility as a warship and her numerous dry dock restorations.

"The ship is open for visitation and we are constantly getting new crew members, so it is extremely important for us, the staff of [NHHC] Det. Boston and the USS Constitution Museum, to keep the momentum going and keep the integrity of the story going even if the ship is in dry dock," said Margherita Desy, the historian for NHHC Det. Boston and a training course instructor.

Though the training course has been conducted annually for the past several years, 2016 marks the first year Suffolk University offer Constitution crew members three college course credits to those Sailors seeking to further their education.

Robert Allison, a Suffolk University history professor, started the first session with background information on the Revolutionary War and will present future topics throughout the next 12 weeks.

"I'm really excited from today's training on how the British paid the Barbary States to attack us; I never knew that," said Seaman Keira Sims, a Constitution crew member and course participant. "I am excited to see the background information on how we ended up in all the engagements that we [Constitution] were in."

Constitution's crew attends the yearly History and Interpretation Training course to gain a more thorough understanding of their ship's historical significance, what life was like for Sailors aboard her during the Age of Sail and her ties to the creation and growth of the U.S. Navy, in addition to learning more of the countless details and accounts told of her fabled naval career.

"Old Ironsides" Sailors can then take the new information they have learned during the course and use it to further enhance their own interpretations of their ship's story, which they tell to hundreds of thousands of Constitution visitors each year.

The 2016 History and Interpretation Training course will conclude March 29, just in time for the commencement of Constitution's peak spring and summer tour season.

USS Constitution, America's Ship of State, actively defended sea lanes against global threats from 1797-1855. Now a featured destination on Boston's Freedom Trail, Constitution and her crew of active duty U.S. Navy Sailors offer community outreach and education about the ship's history and the importance of naval sea power to more than 500,000 visitors each year. Constitution is currently dry docked at Charlestown Navy Yard for a multi-year planned restoration period.

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