Submarine Force Museum Home of Historic Ship Nautilus
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Teachers Guide Page 6
The Historic Ship NAUTILUS
NAUTILUS is significant in submarine history for several reasons:
- It is the world’s first true submarine. Nuclear propulsion ended a submarine’s dependence on diesel engines and electric batteries, allowing it to stay submerged almost indefinitely.
- It is the first ship to go to the North Pole. Explorers had long dreamed of reaching the Pole. NAUTILUS achieved this in August 1958.
NAUTILUS is moored to the pier at the museum. In the glass building on the bow (front part of the submarine), students will be given an audio wand that describes the places they will visit on the submarine. The glass building was not a part of the submarine when it was on active duty.
Students enter the submarine by descending a flight of stairs to the torpedo room. These stairs were not a part the original NAUTILUS; they were added to make entry easier for visitors. The NAUTILUS crew used a vertical ladder.
If someone suffers from claustrophobia, they may begin to feel uncomfortable on these steps. They can turn back here or at the first stop, the torpedo room.
The plexi-glass panels that you will see throughout the ship were not a part of the original NAUTILUS, they were added during her conversion for public visitation.
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Torpedo Room: NAUTILUS carried 24 torpedoes. Crewmembers also worked and slept in this room. En route to the wardroom, students will pass several toilets, a sink and a shower. These originally had doors and were not open to view.
Wardroom/Officers’ Berthing Area: The Wardroom is the officer’s dining area. Officers also used it for meetings and recreation, such as watching movies. Two or three officers shared each stateroom. Only the Commanding Officer had a private room.
Attack Center: The attack center contains the periscopes. Here the officers and crew planned and directed the ship’s movements and actions. Close by are the navigation center, the sonar room and the ship’s office.
The first space on the lower level is the control room. From here the crew operated the helm which were used to maintain the desired depth. The controls for the ballast tanks are also located here. The radio room is nearby.
Crew’s Mess: The crew’s mess is the crew’s dining area; it could seat 36 people at a time. The crew also used it for recreation, religious services, and in emergencies as an operating room. There are numerous pin-ups in the crew’s mess and in other places on the boat. These are authentic to NAUTILUS in the 1950s; they or similar pictures were onboard during its active duty service. Navy Equal Opportunity policies no longer allow such displays on ships on active service.
Crew’s Quarters: In the ten-man bunkroom, the beds are 3 and 4deep. Crewmembers had small lockers or storage areas under their bunks for personal possesions.
Chief Petty Officer Quarters: Chief Petty Officers are the senior enlisted personnel on a submarine. They had a separate living and dining area.
Scullery: The scullery made efficient use of limited fresh water. It included a dishwashing machine. From the scullery, students will return to the torpedo room and then go up the stairs to leave. Students should leave their audio wands with the sailor on watch.
Crew’s Galley: Submarines have always had a reputation for excellent food. The galley, or kitchen, prepared 4 meals a day for one hundred men. Crewmembers could get a snack from the galley whenever they were hungry. Coffee, and ice-cream machine, and “bug juice,” the Navy’s equivalent of Kool-Aid, were always available.