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.
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 Napoleanic 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.
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.