The United States Naval Academy (USNA) can be found in the heart of downtown Annapolis. Known as “The Yard,” this prestigious undergraduate college prepares young men and women to become professional officers in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Originally established in 1845, the USNA is a National Historic Landmark and home to numerous historic buildings and monuments.

Over 4,400 midshipman live on campus in Bancroft Hall – the largest single dormitory in the world. I was lucky enough to check it out with the help of midshipman first-class Luke Redito. Bancroft Hall contains approximately 1,700 rooms across 4.8 miles of corridors, and 33 acres of floor space.

United States Naval Academy

Moving across the lawn is the USNA Museum. Housed in Preble Hall, this museum is full of exhibits that tell the history of the Navy and the Academy. One of my favorite exhibits is on the “second deck” of the museum. Called the Gallery of Ships, this exhibit displays model ships made from prisoners’ food rations during the Napoleonic Era. Be sure to check out the exhibits yourself as the museum is FREE and open daily.

Another notable and historic site to visit on The Yard is the Crypt of John Paul Jones.  John Paul Jones’ leadership and influence was paramount in the establishment our Navy. After his remains were buried somewhere in France, President Theodore Roosevelt requested to bring him back and placed him in the Crypt underneath the USNA Chapel in 1906.

United States Naval Academy

The Naval Academy is open to the public year-round (valid form of ID is required to enter), seven days a week. Visitors are welcome to wander around the Yard at their leisure, or join at tour at the Armel-Leftwich Visitor Center.


Photos courtesy of VisitAnnapolis.org and  Patrick McNamara of Drawn to the Image. Video courtesy of Patrick McNamara. 

Jamie Foster

Jamie Foster is married with two young daughters and lives in Annapolis. You might see her walking the brick-paved streets of our colonial city as a tour guide, complete with 18th century clothing. Originally from Michigan, she moved to Long Island, NY for graduate school where she received her degree in Exercise Physiology. She worked for many years in Cardiac Rehabilitation before moving to Maryland in 2008. Since then, she has stayed home to be with her children. Now that they are in school, she enjoys volunteering and sharing her love of history as a tour guide. Jamie enjoys coffee, exploring historical sites, spending time with friends and being involved in her church.