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The Most Visited Museumships Around The World

The Most Visited Museumships Around The World

Military History

Museumships represent some of the best living history that we can access in society. A chance to wander back in time, learn, live and smell the history that once sailed on these vessels. When visiting HMS Victory for instance at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, you can see the very spot where Nelson fell at Trafalgar. Or walk the teak deck on the USS Missouri; and find yourself at the very spot where the Japanese surrendered to end World War 2. Today let’s take a look at some of the most popular ships on the planet.

Of course, one of those ships that we will mention, the USS Arizona; is technically not a true museum ship, however, it is still both a museum and a ship and one with the highest regard and worth endless consideration for its sacrifice.

First up is the glorious and legendary HMS Victory with 450,000 annual visitors!

Restoring HMS Victory (William Lionel Wyllie, 1925)

HMS Victory is famous for being the flagship of Admiral Horatio Nelson during the Battle of Trafalgar on October 21, 1805. The battle was a decisive British victory against a combined fleet of French and Spanish ships, and Nelson’s leadership and tactics are widely credited with securing the victory for the British.

The Battle of Trafalgar painted by Samuel Drummond in 1825

Despite being heavily damaged during the battle, HMS Victory went on to serve in the Royal Navy for over a century and is now preserved as a museum ship in Portsmouth, England. The ship has become an iconic symbol of British naval heritage and the heroism of Nelson and his crew at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Next on our list is the mighty USS Alabama which also sees 450,000 visitors a year.

USS Alabama (BB-60) in Casco Bay c1942.jpg

The USS Alabama is an American battleship that served in World War II. Commissioned in 1942 and saw action in a number of major engagements throughout the war.

Next, we have the Mighty Mo, USS Missouri with 540,000 annual visitors.

Crewmen man the rails as Missouri during her recommissioning ceremony in San Francisco

Famous for being the last battleship built by the United States and for being the site of the signing of the instrument of surrender that ended World War II. You can now see her today at Pearl Harbor where she watches over her fallen sister the USS Arizona.

Now we have the oldest commissioned warship afloat, in downtown Boston, the USS Constitution!

A photograph of a ship out of the water and under repair
The earliest known photograph of Constitution, undergoing repairs in 1858

Launched in 1797, the USS Constitution is one of the original six frigates of the United States Navy and was designed to protect American merchant ships during the Quasi-War with France and the Barbary Wars with North African pirate states. During the War of 1812, the USS Constitution became famous for its victories against British frigates, earning the nickname “Old Ironsides” for its ability to withstand heavy enemy fire.

USS Constitution : Old Ironsides History With USS Constitution Museum Public Historian Carl Herzog

Let’s take the Amtrak down from Boston to New York and go see the next stop on our list, the USS Intrepid which boasts over 1 million in attendance!

Located at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Intrepid is docked on the Hudson River next to Manhattan’s Cruise Line Terminals and has an awesome collection of historic spacecraft, including a replica of the Apollo Lunar Module and the Space Shuttle Enterprise and military planes from various eras, such as the A-12 Blackbird and the British Sea Harrier.

Enterprise being lowered onto Intrepid in 2012

Visitors can tour the interior of a real Concorde!

Next up is the USS Midway which also sees over 1 million annual visitors in sunny San Diego!

USS Midway (CVA-41) underway in the Pacific Ocean on 19 April 1971 (NNAM.1996.488.116.040).jpg

The USS Midway is a famous aircraft carrier that served in the United States Navy from 1945 to 1992. It was one of the largest and most modern aircraft carriers of its time and saw extensive service during the latter half of the 20th century.

On the other side of the planet from Southern California is Stockholm and the Vasa with over 1.5 million annual visitors.

The four floating museum ships moored outside the Vasa Museum.
The four floating museum ships moored outside the Vasa Museum.

The Vasa ship is a Swedish warship that was built in the early 17th century. It is most famous for sinking on its maiden voyage in 1628, and for being recovered from the bottom of Stockholm harbor 333 years later, in 1961. Now you can see it at the Vasa Museum in all its glory.

Next on our list is not a “museumship” in the literal sense.

USS Arizona Memorial (aerial view).jpg

However, its memorial is visited by over 1.5 million people each year, the fallen USS Arizona. The accompanying museum has a tremendous number of artifacts on display and an educational movie theater. Playing World War 2 Victory At Sea episodes.

Now to our most popular museumship, U-505 with between 1.5 and 2 million visitors a year.

U-505 is a German Type IXC U-boat of the Kriegsmarine; used during World War II and captured by the United States Navy in June of 1944.

A U.S. Navy boarding party working to secure a tow line to the bow of the captured German submarine U-505, 4 June 1944 (80-G-49172).jpg
A boarding party from the U.S. Navy destroyer escort USS Pillsbury (DE-133) working to secure a tow line to the bow of the captured German submarine U-505, 4 June 1944. Note the large U.S. flag flying from the submarine’s periscope.

After the war, U-505 was brought to the United States and was used for testing and training purposes. In 1954, the submarine was transferred to the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, where it has been on display ever since.

Military History
USS Wisconsin (BB-64) WisKy A History of the Iowa Class Last American Battleship with Keith J. Nitka

The Most Visited Museumships Around The World