Tag Archives: museum

UK – Submarine museum moves a fathom closer

PLANS for a submarine museum in Helensburgh have taken a step forward after an application to alter a former church hall were given the green light.

Argyll and Bute Council granted planning permission to the Scottish Submarine Trust to extend St Columba’s West King Street Hall to house a 53-foot long submarine.

The application for a single-storey extension to the existing hall will form the main entrance for the Scottish Submarine Museum. The new accesible entrance to the halls will be a timber clad pavilion extension adjoining to the West King Street Hall, and will create two extra parking spaces.

A 39-tonne or mini submarine will be displayed as the centrepiece to the museum, which will also house an interactive electronic memorial in Remembrance of the 5,329 submariners who have given their lives in the Royal Navy Submarine Service.

The project, which aims to attract 10,000 visitors to the Burgh, is spearheaded by Visit Helensburgh and this application is the first step in the development process.

Chris Terris, general manager of Visit Helensburgh, told the Advertiser the team will be ‘cracking on’.

He said: “Essentially that’s the paperwork out the way and now we get stuck in to the next phase.”

Chris added: “The extension is simply a small single story which will be the main entrance, will house the ticket office and an upgrade to the disabled toilets. It all sits well within the existing boundary.

“The most interesting and challenging part of the project is just exactly how we lift a 33 tonne, 53ft long submarine and guide it into place. This is all being worked out by specialist heavy lifting experts and our own engineers.”

The project has an estimated budget of £740,000, and has received donations so far of £200,000 from the Armed Forces Covenant; £300,000 for a World War II X-Craft mini submarine; and a grant of £140,000 from the council.

Initially it was hoped the museum would be open in time for the Commonwealth Games on July 23, but planning permission and listed building consent were needed for substantial work at former church Hall on Sinclair Street.

Source – Helensburgh Advertiser

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UK – Look inside a nuclear submarine during dockyard open days

HMS Courageous

HMS Courageous

THE GENERAL public will have the chance to see inside a nuclear submarine during two dockyard open days.

Devonport naval base will throw open its doors this Sunday from 10am to 5pm and on May 26 during the same hours.

Commodore Graeme Little, the commanding officer of the base, has agreed to the base being opened to the public in support of Plymouth’s History Festival.

The days are being run by Friend and Volunteers of Devonport Naval Heritage Centre.

As well as having a tour of a decommissioned submarine, HMS Courageous, the public can also visit the model ship gallery, take a look at the ships figureheads, visit the police museum, look around Gilroy House (the former home of the senior police officer) and enjoy fascinating talks throughout the day.

One of the talks will be given by Peter Holt form the SHIPS (Shipwrecks and History In Plymouth Sound) project.

Bob Cook, from the naval museum, said: “Everyone is welcome to come along. HMS Courageous is set out for visitors but you have to be fit enough to go in and out of the tubes, like going down a manhole, so as long as you don’t have a heart condition, vertico, claustrophobia or are heavily pregnant, you’re more than welcome – but wear trousers.

“We will have a formal opening by the Lord Mayor and we are hoping the commodore will come along too.”

A programme of events will be available on both days to boost museum funds.

Anyone going should head to the Naval Base Heritage Museum off Granby Way (postcode PL1 4HG). Car parking is available.

For more details contact 01752 554200


HMS Onyx – Bid to make former Navy submarine Clyde exhibit

SHIPPING enthusiasts have launched an ambitious scheme to buy a former Royal Navy submarine and berth her on the Clyde as an exhibit.

They are seeking to buy HMS Onyx, the last Oberon-class sub, and bring her back to Greenock, where the undersea craft was assembled.

But since 2006 the sub has been languishing at Buccleuch Dock in Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, after being part of a plan to build a Submarine Heritage Centre which never materialised.

Eleven Oberon-class submarines were built at Scott’s Drydock in Greenock, six for Royal Australian Navy, three for Royal Navy and two which were purchased by Chile.

The group members, which include former submariners, have been to inspect HMS Onyx and say she is in good enough condition to be put on display. A feasibility study is currently under way to establish if the plan could go ahead, while a number of local businessmen are backing the scheme.

HMS Onyx saw action during the Falkland Islands conflict and helped smuggle members of the Special Boat Service into the warzone.

The group’s spokesman, Bill Mutter, said: “Greenock has a proud heritage of shipbuilding but at the moment all it has to show for it is the (Paddle Steamer) ‘Comet’ and it is positioned in Port Glasgow.

“Onyx is display ready, as for many years she was located in Liverpool and it was only due to harbour regeneration around 2007 that the then museum had to be broken up.

“We narrowly missed out on acquiring her then, and she went to a Barrow business man, supposedly as a gift to the people of Barrow, but when his planning application for a hotel he proposed building was refused he promptly sold Onyx to a scrap dealer with whom she presently languishes.”

He added he felt the old Scott’s Dry Dock would be the ideal location for Onyx as it was in this dock that the Oberons built by Scott’s were fitted out. He said the dock itself is also historic.

Source – Herald Scotland

 

Major new submarine museum planned for River Clyde

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Two Navy servicemen on a ‘Stickleback’ submarine in 1954. Picture: Royal Maritime Museum

A MULTI-million pound museum to create the biggest ­memorial in the world to more than 5,300 Commonwealth sailors killed in the line of duty, and honour Scotland’s role in the ­development of submarine technology, is planned for the banks of the River Clyde.

 Award-winning architect ­Gareth Hoskins, who designed the £47 million National Museum of Scotland redevelopment, the Culloden Battlefield Memorial Centre and the Bridge Arts Centre, has been asked to draw up plans for the new £6m building overlooking the Firth of Clyde at Helensburgh.

Funding for the proposed Scottish Submarine Centre is being sought from a consortium of private and public bodies with organisers claiming to have secured pledges of more than £1m so far.

An application for £240,000 is due to go before the Scottish Regional Armed Forces Community Covenant Awards Board for approval later this month.

The Community Covenant grant scheme was launched by the Ministry of Defence in August last year. It offers funding of £30m over four years to UK projects which strengthen ties between serving and former military personnel with their communities.

The proposed Submarine Centre will be the only one of its kind in Scotland. Already, the Royal Navy Museum has agreed to donate an X51-class submarine as a centrepiece of the state-of-the-art digital museum to act as a memorial to submariners from around the world.

The midget submarine is a direct descendant of the X-class subs whose crews trained in the Firth of Clyde during the ­Second World War to develop the techniques needed to attack enemy shipping in the narrow fjords of Norway. The X51, improved on the wartime midget submarines, was first unveiled in 1954 on the Gareloch in the Firth of Clyde. Capable of carrying a crew of five, the miniature subs were used for a variety of roles. However, the history of submarines and the Clyde is much longer.

It is hoped the new facility will open by the end of 2016 in time for the 100th anniversary of the K13 disaster. Thirty-two people died when the steam-driven submarine failed during sea trials in the Gareloch near Helensburgh on 29 January, 1917 within sight of the location proposed for the new museum and memorial. Brian Keating, a Helensburgh-based businessman who is driving the project, said: “Helensburgh and the Clyde have been associated with the submarine service for more than 100 years. A lot of work was done here to pioneer the technology.

“The Clyde has also played a major role as a home to submarines on active duty. Many of the most famous and daring ­missions carried out during the Second World War either began here or were in some way connected with the Clyde.

“We want to create a world-class museum which celebrates the marine engineering heritage of the Clyde shipbuilders involved in the development of submarines and serves as a memorial to the brave men from all over the Commonwealth who served in the ­‘silent service’.”

Architect Hoskins, a native of Helensburgh, was recently awarded a series of top awards.

Source – The Scotsman

Landlocked USS Dallas to be site of major maritime museum

The USS Dallas, a 362-foot nuclear-powered submarine, will be displayed next to the museum building. The submarine is scheduled for decommissioning in 2014.

Plans are afoot to build a major maritime museum in Dallas. You heard right.

The $80 million Dallas Maritime Museum will be on a 3.5-acre site near the Trinity River, but more than 250 miles from the nearest body of salt water. Plans will be officially announced Friday morning by Mayor Mike Rawlings and members of a foundation formed to create the new facility.

“Dallas is a city of big ideas, and this is just one more example,” said Phillip Jones, president and CEO of the Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is backing the idea. “Lots of people are excited about this.”

One big idea is to acquire and display the 362-foot nuclear-powered attack submarine USS Dallas next to a 30,000-square-foot museum building. Foundation officials said naval authorities have approved the transfer once the vessel is removed from active duty.

The submarine is scheduled for decommissioning in 2014. It would be another 21/2 years before the vessel is ready for public display.

“By that time we want to have the museum ready,” said John Shellene, the foundation’s executive director. “We’re in the early stage of the fundraising process.”

Shellene said the money will largely come from private sources, though he said backers may apply to the city for additional funding.

Museum plans call for two other major acquisitions besides the submarine. Shellene declined to elaborate, other than to say that one of the exhibits “would excite people not just on the national, but the international, level.”

Rollie Stevens, a retired Navy captain who is the foundation’s president, said the idea was launched in 2009 after he and other local military supporters became aware that the USS Dallas was scheduled to leave active duty.

The idea was also conceived as a way to create an attraction in southern Dallas along the Trinity River Corridor, he said. The foundation has acquired land on Riverfront Boulevard in the Rock Island area for the project.

“We look upon its purpose as education, but also as a living memorial to the contributions North Texas has made to the Navy, the Coast Guard and the merchant marine,” he said.

While the city is not usually regarded as a major seaport, Dallas is still a logical place for a maritime museum, he said.

“It’s important to know that North Texas is the No. 1 recruiting area in the country for the Navy,” he said. “Last year in the Veterans Day parade, the Navy had 100 new recruits, as big as the Army.”

Jones, too, believes North Texas’ strong military tradition makes the museum a logical step. The facility would draw national tours specializing in retirees and military veterans, he said.

“This gives Dallas a good balance of attractions. It’s a needed addition in South Dallas,” Jones said.

The Cambridge, Mass.-based research firm ConsultEcon, commissioned by the foundation to study the feasibility of the museum, did not estimate the number of visitors the facility might attract. Its executive summary concluded, however, the Dallas Maritime Museum “has the potential to be one of the strongest tourist attractions in the city and the state.”

Stevens said visitors would be able to walk through the three levels inside the submarine. Though other cities have submarines, he said, Dallas would be the only place a nuclear-powered attack submarine could be viewed entirely out of water.

The USS Dallas has been part of the American naval defense for 32 years. There has been a lack of major sea battles during that time, but the USS Dallas achieved a kind of notoriety, if only a fictional one, by being a major component of the Tom Clancy thriller The Hunt for Red October.

Its journey to the city after which it is named may be its most epic journey.

After decommissioning ceremonies in Connecticut, the submarine will be towed along the Atlantic seaboard, through the Panama Canal and up the Pacific Coast to Puget Sound, Stevens said.

There the nuclear reactor and other classified components will be removed. The stripped-down vessel will then be towed back through Panama to Houston. The vessel, which is longer than a football field, will be dismantled, and its parts hauled to Dallas on the backs of trucks.

Once here, it will be reassembled.

“It will take a lot of planning,” Shellene said. “But it can be done.”

Description: Los Angeles-class, nuclear-powered, fast attack submarine

Length: 362 feet

Beam: 33 feet

Speed: Greater than 25 knots

Dead weight: 375 long tons, which are each 2,240 pounds

Commissioned: July 18, 1981

Homeport: Groton, Conn.

History: The USS Dallas was the first U.S. Navy ship to be named for the Texas city. It was initially attached to Submarine Development Squadron 12 in New London, Conn., and was used for research and development projects. In 1988, it became a member of Submarine Squadron 2 in New London. It has had one Indian Ocean deployment, three Mediterranean deployments and seven North Atlantic deployments.

Source – Dallas News

USS Nautilus lets visitors experience life down below

USS Nautilus

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be a submariner and dive deep below the ocean surface you can do just that at the Submarine Force Museum in Groton. There you can see the history of the submarine service and climb aboard the USS Nautilus, the world’s first nuclear powered vessel.

The Nautilus, named after the ship depicted in Jules Verne’s novel, “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea” was first launched Jan. 21, 1954, after 18 months of construction. First lady Mamie Eisenhower broke the traditional bottle of champagne across Nautilus’ bow during the ceremony. On Sept. 30, 1954, Nautilus became the first commissioned nuclear powered ship in the U.S. Navy.

Nautilus made naval history on July 23, 1958, when it departed Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, under top secret orders to conduct “Operation Sunshine,” the first crossing of the North Pole by a ship. It was at 11:15 p.m. Aug. 3, 1958, that Commander William R. Anderson announced to his crew, “For the world, our country and the Navy … the North Pole.” With 116 men on board, Nautilus had accomplished the seemingly impossible task of reaching 90 degrees north, the geographic North Pole.

The museum with more than 33,000 artifacts is dedicated to saving the history of the submarine. The museum can trace its roots back to 1955 when the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics founded the Submarine Library with a huge collection of books and documents relating to the history of the submarine. In 1965 the facility was donated to the U.S. Navy and moved to its current location. The name was changed to the Submarine Force Museum in 1969 and efforts began to convince the Navy to donate Nautilus to the museum. A new 14,000-square-foot museum was built in 1986 and was expanded in 1997 and again in 2000.

On display in the is a replica of the Turtle, the world’s first combat submarine built in 1775. The Turtle was designed to attach a mine to the hull of an enemy ship. It was used against the British during the Revolutionary War but was not successful.

Also on display are models of several different classes of submarines and a control room where visitors can sit and operate the controls of a sub. A 50 foot-long 1/6th scale cutaway model of the submarine USS Gato is suspended from the ceiling in the main exhibit area. The Gato was the primary class of submarine used by the United States during World War II. Other displays include midget submarines from WWII, working periscopes and the Explorer, an early U.S. research submarine.

The museum library has a collection of more than 20,000 documents and 30,000 photographs related to the history of the submarine. The collection has 6,000 books including an original 1870 copy of Jules Verne’s “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”

The centerpiece for the museum is the Nautilus which was designated a National Historic Landmark by the Secretary of the Interior on May 20, 1982. The historic ship then underwent an extensive conversion at Mare Island Naval Shipyard in Vallejo, Calif., to make it more accessible to visitors. When the conversion was complete it was towed to Groton and on April 11, 1986, the museum and Nautilus opened to the public.

Tours aboard the Nautilus are self guided and visitors get an audio wand that describes each numbered stop on the tour. The first stop after entering the forward part of the ship through a specially constructed glass house added during the conversion to a museum is the torpedo room. The Nautilus has six tubes for its 24 torpedoes. Plexiglas partitions have been installed throughout Nautilus so visitors can see but not touch the historic vessel.

As the tour continues visitors pass by berthing areas for the crew and the wardroom for the 11 officers on board. On the wall behind the wardroom table are instruments showing the ship’s speed, course and depth. Also on display in the wardroom is an original copy of Jules Vernes’ “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.”

Next on the tour is the Attack Center where the periscopes are located as well as the firing panel to launch the torpedoes. The Control Room is located directly below the Attack Center and has all the instruments and controls for diving, surfacing and steering the ship. To the right of the Control Room is the Radio Room where all the ship’s communication equipment is located.

The final stop on the tour is the Crew’s Mess where the enlisted men ate. Food was served every six hours and because living conditions were stressful, submarines had the best food in the military.

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