Street Address
2 High Street
Portsmouth, VA 23705
Mailing Address
2 High Street
Portsmouth, VA 23705
June 1-Labor Day
Tuesday - Saturday10 AM - 5 PM
Sunday1 PM - 5 PM
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum and Lightship Portsmouth Museum are two of more than 1,800 museums across America to offer free admission to military personnel and their families this summer in collaboration with the National Endowment for the Arts, Blue Star Families, and the Department of Defense. The program runs from from Memorial Day through Labor Day 2013. Leadership support has been provided by MetLife Foundation through Blue Star Families.
Adults: $4
Seniors (over 62): $3
Military (with active ID): Free
Students (2-17): $2
Children under 2: Free
Gift Shop
Ms. Alice Hanes, Curator
phone: 757-393-8591


During the Revolutionary War, the shipyard was described by the British as “the most considerable one in America.” It’s been burned three times by retreating armies because of its strategic importance. Many historic ships have been built here, including the CSS VIRGINIA (EX-MERRIMAC), the first ironclad to engage in battle; the nation’s first battleship, the TEXAS; and the world’s first aircraft carrier, the LANGLEY. The shipyard is also home to the country’s first drydock, which is still in use. At its peak during WWII, the yard employed nearly 43,000 workers.


Founded in 1767 as the Gosport Shipyard, its name was changed during the Civil War to the Norfolk Navy Yard, and later the Norfolk Naval Shipyard. (“Norfolk” was chosen because, at the time, there was already a Portsmouth Navy Yard in New Hampshire.)

Artifacts Collections

The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum offers a unique perspective on U.S. history, from Colonial to Civil War times and beyond. You’ll find beautiful ship models, uniforms, military artifacts and exhibits portraying life in 18th, 19th and 20th century Portsmouth, Virginia.


Wheelchair Accessible


Museum Shoppe

Located inside the museum, the Museum Shoppe offers a unique variety of historically themed gifts for visitors of all ages. You will find a wide variety of books about the history of Portsmouth and the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, nostalgic toys and games, model kits, maps, puzzles, postcards, jewelry, magnets and more. The Shoppe is open during regular museum hours.

Gift Shop