This month’s fun fact is about our Great Hall of Steam exhibition, which is our gallery that includes many large ship models. What many may or may not know is that a good number of the models exhibited were built here at the museum. On July 19, 1932, we opened a ship model shop for the purpose of creating models that could be displayed.
When the work began, they decided to do models of contemporary ships so that the plans from the actual ships could be used. Most of these ended up being ships that had been built at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company. The first model the shop started working on was that of President Hoover of the Dollar Line, although a model of the tug John Twohy, Jr. was finished first.
Once experience had been gained building the contemporary models, the shop began working on models for historic vessels, such as the Monitor and Virginia. The model shop continued until the early 1940’s, at which point they had built a total of 14 models. Thanks to them we have some beautiful representations of ships past.