About us

What we do

The Submarine Force Museum, located on the Thames River in Groton, Connecticut, maintains the world’s finest collection of submarine artifacts. It is the only submarine museum operated by the United States Navy, and as such is the primary repository for artifacts, documents and photographs relating to U.S. Submarine Force history. The museum traces the development of the “Silent Service” from David Bushnell’s Turtle, used in the Revolutionary War, to the Ohio and Virginia class submarines.

Originally established as “The Submarine Library” by Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in 1955, the Submarine Force Library and Museum soon gained respect for its archival and research value. In April 1964, the entire collection was donated to the Navy and relocated to the Naval Submarine Base, New London, Groton, Connecticut. The name “Submarine Force Library and Museum” was officially adopted in 1969.

The museum’s collections include more than 33,000 artifacts, 20,000 significant documents and 30,000 photographs. With so many holdings, the displays change frequently and a return visit will be a new experience. The 6,000 volume reference and research library is a world-renowned collection relative to the history of U.S. submarines and is open to anyone looking for information on submarines or submarine history.

Our Mission

To collect, preserve and interpret the history of the United States Naval Submarine Force in order to honor veterans and to educate naval personnel and the public in the heritage and traditions of the US Submarine Force and its relationship to America’s freedom by:

  • Acting as a national repository with the responsibility to archive and display US Submarine history that is accurate, complete and unbiased.
    Preserving the physical legacy and experiences of submariners for presentation to the widest possible audience.
  • Developing and publicizing programs that broaden and deepen public knowledge and appreciation of the significance of the Submarine Force.
  • Striving to anticipate the Submarine Force’s future historical needs in formulating strategies and policies for acquisition of historical material.
  • Hosting Naval traditions and activities that promote Naval Heritage to the greater community.

Our Vision

The museum strives to become the Nation’s top destination showcasing outstanding collections and innovative, tangible exhibits that celebrate the Honor, Courage and Commitment of submariners defending their country and citizens.

Our Goals

  • Assist the Library and Museum in achieving its objectives.
  • Foster and perpetuate the Library and Museum as a medium which promotes historical knowledge of submarines.
  • Stimulate among present and past submariners and the general public, an awareness, recognition, and pride in the role of the submarine in naval operations, past and present.
  • To support the promotion of historical knowledge of submarines through the collection preservation and dissemination of such knowledge.
  • To assist in the maintenance, development, and expansion of the Library and Museum.
  • To receive, hold and administer gifts of any type or nature for the furtherance of the foregoing purposes.

How to Support the Nautilus

You can help support the Museum by becoming a member. Simply make a donation using our online form to become a member.

Benefits of becoming a member:

  • Newsletters (available by mail or email)
  • Invitations to special events
  • 10% discount at the gift shop
  • 10% discount on purchases by mail order or on-line
  • Donors listed in our annual registry
  • Feel good about supporting a vital and important cause!

Donations of $35 or more receive an Annual Membership, Quarterly Newsletter, a 10% discount on items in the museum store, and an invitation to association events such as the annual meeting.

Donations of $250 or more receive a Life Membership which includes everything in the Annual Membership for life.

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