Fighting Sail!

Why were square-rigged ships so well-suited for fighting formation?  Learn the answer to this, and other questions about the organization of fighting fleets in the early 19th century. Interactive exhibits illustrate aspects of the construction and operation of these vessels, opening a window on shipboard life and the work of the officers and crew who served in the US Navy during its early era.

The centerpiece of the exhibit is the life-sized upper portion of a working mast, spars and sails. Demonstrations are scheduled at times throughout the year, offering visitors an opportunity to better understand the ways of sail handling. Other exhibits include a life-sized officer’s cabin, ship building tools, weapons, and knots.