The New Jersey Naval Museum

The New Jersey Naval Museum in River Edge, NJ, is a hidden gem that houses a treasure trove of history. The museum, which opened in 1981, is dedicated to preserving New Jersey and American naval history. It is run by a dedicated group of volunteers who work tirelessly to maintain and showcase the exhibits, which include a large collection of artifacts and memorabilia.

The museum is housed in a former US Navy drill hall built during World War II in 1942. The structure was used as a training facility for Navy recruits as well as a storage facility for supplies and equipment. The building was used by the Army National Guard after the war, and then by the Army Reserve until it was sold to the Borough of River Edge in the 1970s.

The museum’s collection includes a large number of ship models, ranging from the first sailing ships to modern aircraft carriers. The models are meticulously crafted and depict the evolution of naval technology over time. Displays of uniforms, medals, and other memorabilia, as well as photographs and documents, tell the story of New Jersey’s naval history.

The USS Ling, a Balao-class submarine commissioned in 1945, is one of the museum’s most impressive exhibits. During WWII, the Ling served in the Pacific Theater and was later used for training purposes. The Ling was decommissioned and donated to the museum in 1971. Visitors can now explore the submarine and gain a firsthand understanding of what life was like for the crew members who served on board.

Aside from the exhibits, the museum hosts a number of events throughout the year, such as lectures, film screenings, and special tours. The museum also takes part in community events like the River Edge Independence Day Parade, where volunteers march in uniform and carry flags and banners representing various branches of the military.

The volunteers at the museum are dedicated to preserving the Navy’s history and ensuring that future generations understand and appreciate the sacrifices made by those who served. Many of the volunteers are veterans who bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to their positions.

The New Jersey Naval Museum is a one-of-a-kind and fascinating destination for history buffs and anyone curious about the Navy’s role in New Jersey’s history. It allows visitors to travel back in time and experience the sights and sounds of naval life, such as the creaking of a wooden ship and the hum of a submarine’s engines.

Despite its many attractions, the museum faces difficulties attracting visitors and funding its operations. It, like many small museums, relies heavily on volunteers and donations to stay open. The museum’s dedicated volunteers and supporters, on the other hand, are optimistic about its future and committed to ensuring that it remains a valuable resource for the community.

Finally, the New Jersey Naval Museum is a must-see for anyone interested in naval history and the Navy’s role in New Jersey’s history. The museum has something for everyone, from the impressive ship models to the fascinating memorabilia displays and the opportunity to explore a real submarine. Its dedicated volunteers are committed to preserving the Navy’s legacy and ensuring that future generations understand and value the Navy’s contributions. The New Jersey Naval Museum should be at the top of your list if you’re looking for a unique and educational experience.

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