Hong Kong Space Museum (Hong Kong)

Hong Kong Space Museum

The Hong Kong Space Museum (Chinese: 香港太空館), a museum of astronomy and space science managed by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department of the Hong Kong Government, is one of the most famous and outstanding landmarks in Hong Kong. Conveniently located on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront (next to Hong Kong Museum of Arts and HK Cultural Centre), Mr. Joseph Ming Gun Lee of the Public Works Department was the chief architect of the project.  Construction started in 1977 and the museum opened on October 8, 1980.

The planetarium and other equipment, worth HK$3,050,000, were purchased from the Carl Zeiss Company. With the aid of interesting hands-on exhibits and advanced equipment such as seats installed with multi-language and interactive systems, coupled with lighting effects and environmental decorations, the exhibition introduces astronomy and space science in a vivid approach.

The planetarium’s dome

The museum, occupying an area of 8,000 sq. m., has two wings.  The East Wing consists of the core of the museum’s popular planetarium, the first local planetarium for the popularization of astronomy and space science education and the first planetarium in the world to possess a fully automatic control system at its Stanley Ho Space Theatre (boasts the first OMNIMAX film projector in the eastern hemisphere) beneath it.

The planetarium’s rather unusual, easily recognizable and striking egg-shaped hemispherical projection dome, a famous landmark on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront, has a diameter of 23 m.. Also beneath the planetarium is the Hall of the Cosmos, the Hall of Space Exploration, workshops and offices.

Hall of the Cosmos

There is also a mockup of the nose and cockpit section of the Space Shuttle orbiter.  The West Wing houses the Hall of Astronomy, a thematic exhibition hall on the first floor; the Lecture Hall; a gift shop and offices.

Hall of Space Exploration

The “Hall of the Cosmos” (showcases the Universe from near to far, travelling from the solar system that we are living in, to the stars, Milky Way and galaxies further away and exploring the science and evolution of the universe all along the way), on the ground floor, and “Hall of Space Exploration” (depicts the development of space exploration and space technology), on the first floor, covering a total area of 1,600 sq. m. (17,200 sq. ft.), houses a hundred exhibits, about 70% of which are interactive, enabling visitors to learn through a series of entertaining and educational experiences.

Stanley Ho Space Theatre

The museum houses a large collection of meteorites and offers an extensive range of activities for both adults and children, producing 2 planetarium shows as well as introducing some of the best foreign OMNIMAX and 3D Dome Shows productions, using the digital planetarium projection system, in Hong Kong.

The museum also organizes plenty of extension activities each year including Astronomy Carnival, Astronomy Happy Hours, fun science lab sessions, astronomy competitions, lectures and astronomy film shows, etc.

Hong Kong Space Museum: 10 Salisbury Rd., Tsim Sha TsuiHong Kong.  Tel:+852 2721 0226. Website: hk.space.museum. Open Mondays –Fridays, 1 – 9 PM; Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays, 10 AM – 9 PM; closed on Tuesdays, the first two days of the Chinese New Year and at 5 PM on Christmas Eve and Chinese New Year’s Eve.
Admission: HK$10 (standard). Concession (HK$5) is applicable to full-time students, people with disability (and one accompanying minder) and senior citizens aged 60 or above. Children under 3 years old will not be admitted. Free admission on Wednesdays (visitors are required to queue on site for admission by session). Full-time students and museum pass holders are eligible for free admission to the exhibition halls and need not purchase tickets, but are required to book the admission session online before the visit (except Wednesdays). Booking will be available within one week of the visit.

How to Get There: Take the MTR to get to Tsim Sha Tsui Station. Get out of the station through Exit E and cross the road. Walk 150 m. to Salisbury Road. You’ll see the museum across the road. Then use subway to cross Salisbury Road. When you exit the subway, walk a little along Salisbury Garden. You can also take MTR East Tsim Sha Tsui Station.  Get out through Exit J, then walk about 10 mins. to the museum. Via Star Ferry Pier, from Central or Wan Chai to Tsim Sha Tsui, walk for approximately 10 mins. to the museum.

The Jesuit House (Cebu City, Cebu)

The author at The Jesuit House

The grand opening of One Central Hotel & Suites had just ended and, as we still had a little over an hour to make it to the Jesuit House (claimed to be the oldest dated house in the Philippines), Rona, Rhea and I took a taxi to quickly get there. However, the driver only spoke Cebuano, which none of us spoke, and, coupled with that, didn’t know the destination.  But, thanks to Waze, we were able to make our way there.

Check out “Hotel and Inn Review: One Central Hotel & Suites

The entrance to the Jesuit House (also called Museo de Parian sa Sugbo) was through the main gate of Ho Tong Hardware along Zulueta Street. A streamer, with the words “Welcome To The Jesuit House of 1730,” hangs on the hardware gate. Most people, including us, would probably  have just passed by the area, ignorant of the historical treasure inside as a towering fence, built to protect it from theft (it still is a warehouse for the present owner’s business),  hides the house from street view.

At the office, we paid the admission fee and waited, at the adjoining coffee shop, for museum curator Christian Joseph Bonpua who was to guide us through the museum. The knowledgeable and versatile Christian was well versed in the history of the Jesuits in relation to the Philippines (considering he was a graduate of the Dominican-run University of Sto. Tomas), sharing a lot of historical and current facts. 

Museum curator Christian Joseph Bonpua

He  presented a birds eye view of the history of the Jesuit house during the Spanish and American periods of history via a video presentation.  The Jesuit House is actually two houses connected by a bridge.

“Ano de 1730” plaque atop the entrance (photo: Ms. Rhea Vitto-Tabora)

During our guided tour, Christian pointed to a low relief plaque, bearing the date “Año 1730,” on the inside wall above the main house’s entrance door, an artifact in itself. However, the house’s history remains murky, even contentious.  Some historians argue over the exact year of the house’s construction, some saying that the date on the relief plaque was not 1730 but 1750, pointing out that the third number from the left resembled “5” more than “3.” One piece of evidence hints that the house was built even earlier.

Airconditioned ground floor gallery

In his book Pictorial Records and Traces of the Society of Jesus in the Philippines and Guam prior to 1768, published in 1936, Fr. William Repetti, S.J. (1884-1966), a seismologist (he was Chief of the Section of Seismology and Terrestrial Magnetism of the Manila Observatory, 1920 to 1936) and archivist of the Jesuits, noted the existence of this house, identifying this old structure as the “Jesuit House of 1730.”

It is also widely believed that a tower once stood beside the house. An old, badly damaged painting of the house showed that it was attached to what is believed to be a watchtower for spotting seafaring raiders. In his book, Fr. Repetti also included a reproduction of this old painting of the house. Today, pictures of Fr. Repetti’s visit as well as a framed drawing of that painting hangs on the Jesuit house wall.

However, recent restoration works proved that the house could even be older than 1730. A coin, found buried in one post of the original house, was dated to the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644).  Broken ceramics, also pointing to the Ming Dynasty, were also dug out.

Display of pottery shards

It gives the idea that the house may have gone through a number of transformations and that its first owner may  have been Chinese (the Chinese were among the early settlers in the area). In her book Life in Old Parian, memoirist Concepcion G. Briones happily noted that the house has now come full circle – somehow it is back to Old Parian hands (as the current owner is Filipino-Chinese).

Japanese porcelain shards

Chinese influence in the house construction can be seen in rafters that feature a design resembling a pagoda plus the intricate carvings on the trusses also show that Chinese artisans may have worked on it.  Sy believes the Jesuit house is even older than the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House because its second level, like the ground floor, is still made of cut coral stones, indicating it was built before a Spanish decree disallowed this practice.

Statue of St. Ignatius of Loyola

The decree, indicating that the second level of all houses should be made of wood, was made to prevent the loss of life after a number of houses using coral stone on both floors were destroyed and many lives were lost during a strong earthquake.

Check out “Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House

The remarkably preserved house, sitting on around 2,000 sq. m. of land, served as the residence of the second highest official of the Jesuit society in the Philippines.  Other priests of the order or deacons going to or coming from other provinces for missions were also received here. Historians say that the Jesuits were indeed in possession of the house until 1768 when, following their suppression in Europe, they were expelled from the Philippines. The Jesuits are credited to have introduced masonry construction to the Philippines.

Old movie projector

In 1910, after having been built and occupied by the Jesuits, this huge stone-and-tile mansion bordered by two streets on a lot in old Panting, adjacent to Parian, was bought by Don Luis Alvarez y Diaz, the Alvarez family patriarch.  The Alvarez family, originally from Asturias (Spain), settled in Cebu via Lawis, Leyte.

Scaled model of a Chinese junk

Who Don Luis brought it from is still mystery but, based on a lead provided by Edwina Link-Harris (Don Luis’ granddaughter), it is surmised that it may have been from Don Cristobal Garcia, a Spaniard and a Tabacalera agent of the then municipality of Cebu who returned to Spain. At one point in time, Don Jose Alvarez leased the house to Gov. Sergio Osmeña who used it as a meeting place for Cebu’s elite. The Alvarez family are the current owners of Montebello Villa Hotel.

Diorama of the the old Parian area, showing the now non-existent Church of St. John the Baptist, the Jesuit House and other landmarks.

During World War II, the house was also used by the American forces.  In the 1960s, the house was leased to Peping “Jap” Rodriguez, an Alvarez kinsman, for use as a club. Within the decade it again changed hands, this time going to the Sy family. Jaime “Jimmy” Sy, the current owner, inherited the property from his father.  Jimmy, who operates Ho Tong Hardware, is married to the former Margie Vaño of the Old Guard, related to the Sanson-Velosos, the Coromina-Fortiches, and the Escaños.

Stairs to second floor

Dr. Michael Cullinane (associate director of the Center for Southeast Asian Studies), an American historian on the Philippines, has a different version of the house’s history. Unearthing the earliest record on the house, he revealed that it once belonged to the pious Villa family of the Chinese mestizo principalia (local aristocracy). Around 1880, the Villas gave the house to the Jesuits on certain conditions, including one on the dedication of specific prayers for living and dead members of the family.

Azotea

Jimmy questioned this claim, saying that, even before 1880, the house was already in the possession of the Jesuits as indicated on the Jesuit seals, carved in two separate places in the house, which are definitely in the 18th-century style, as well as the legend “1730,” which is definitely in 18th-century calligraphy. Fr. Rene Javellana, SJ, a Jesuit art historian and professor based at the Ateneo de Manila, supports Jimmy on his contention as the Jesuit presence in Cebu was not reestablished until the erection of Our Lady Queen of China, Sacred Heart Parish in 1952, debunking the 1880 deed.

The two-storey house, along the defunct main entrance on narrow Binakayan Street, has cut coral stone walls with original molave (tugas) hardwood floors of alternating planks of dark and light shades, carved decorative corbels that support the ceiling, stout posts made from the trunks of trees, and a terracotta clay tile roof (a double row of tiles, with each row with a tile atop the other, facing down and cupped by a single tile facing up in the kulob-hayang pattern).

Antique sala set and television

The ground-level interior space (zaguan) has terracotta flooring.  It has 3 m. high ceilings and big door and window openings. Its second floor is connected, by a covered wooden walkway, to a smaller house.  The smaller house is the building we entered. A bipartite building, the smaller house’s lower storey is of coralline limestone while the upper portion is wood, typical of Fil-Hispano colonial houses.

Antique cash register

Antique typewriter, cameras and telephones

According to a 1989 essay written by Fr.  Javellana, the smaller house is believed to have served as an azotea or recreation area.  Another possible explanation, according to Sy, for why this structure was built separately but close to the main house and connected to it at the second level through a wooden bridge, is that it could have functioned as a kitchen situated outside of the house in case of fire.

Jukebox

This house annex, though still retaining its original wood reliefs, the corbels that support the ceiling, the huge, uncut tugas posts and big planks of tugas floorboards lined side by side, already has a galvanized iron roof and renovated modern walls. The presence of disjointed smaller corbels indicates that the ceiling was much higher today than when it was first built.

Tugas (molave) post and coralstone wall at second floor

The original wooden staircase leading up to the livable space on the second floor, described by Fr. Repetti as having a newel post and decorated with intricate carvings or motifs (similar to the monastery of the Basilica Minore del Sto. Niño), is also gone. It is said that, when they left, the Alvarez family brought the banister and post with them and used these in a house they had built in Bohol.

A towering concrete fence, resting on the original fence of coral stone (said to be older than the house), hides the house from street view. The original entrance to the property, through a narrow road called Binakayan near Colon, has been closed off to protect, on the gate’s lintel, the monograms of Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

Though the Sys do not live in the house anymore, they turned the house into a semi-public museum in 2008, making it as a repository of antique furniture and other items (including a jukebox, old GE electric fan and an antique payphone) they’ve collected over the years, thus preserving it as a testament to Cebu’s rich cultural heritage.

Kitchen

In addition to the antiques collected by the Sy family, the museum also features a diorama showing the house during the Spanish era as well as the old furniture owned by the previous owners and items (Ming Dynasty coins, pottery shards, animal bones, etc.) that were unearthed at the location and displayed at the airconditioned ground floor gallery.

Cross at fence

Typical of its time, everything about the house was generous, almost grand and made to last generations. Even with the clutter of warehouse items, the innate importance of the Jesuit House was immediately apparent to us visitors.

Bas relief at the coralstone fence

The Jesuit House: Hotong Hardware, 26 Zulueta St., Brgy. Parian, Cebu City, 6000 Cebu. Tel: (032) 255 5408.  Admission: PhP50/pax (PhP15 for students). Open daily, 8 AM – 12 noon and 1 – 5 PM.  The museum is one of the stops of the annual Gabii sa Kabilin where locals and visitors alike can take a tour of the rich heritage of Cebu City.

How to Get There: The Jesuit House, across the Heritage of Cebu Monument built right on the old Parian plaza, is a few steps away from the obelisk that marks the start of Colon Street at its northern end. Taxi drivers may not be familiar with the Jesuit house so just say you want to go to the Parian Fire Station, which is 10-15 mins. away from Fuente Osmena.  From Ayala Center, take a 13C jeepney and drop off at the Heritage of Cebu Monument. From Colon, take the 01K jeepney and also drop off the monument. 

Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House (Cebu City, Cebu)

Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House

After breakfast at One Central Hotel, we still had time to kill before the 1 PM grand opening of the hotel, so I, together with lady media colleagues Maria Rona Beltran, Rhea G. Vitto-Tabora and Javelyn J. Ramos, decided to do some museum sightseeing.  Outside the hotel, we hailed a jeepney that took us to the Yap-Sandiego Ancestral House, part of the Casa Gorordo Museum Complex.

Check out “Casa Gorordo Museum”

After paying the PhP50 admission fee to a lady receptionist clad in old Filipiniana dress and logging our names in the visitors’ logbook, we were toured around the house by a well-versed guide.

L-R: Ms. Maria Rona Beltran, Ms. Rhea G. Vitto-Tabora, Ms. Javelyn J. Ramos and the author

The Spanish-Colonial era Yap-San Diego Ancestral House, in Cebu City’s Parian District (founded in 1590 after the arrival of Chinese traders), is said to be the first Chinese house built outside of China.

Listening to our guide explaining the history of the house

Often referred to by the locals as the Balay nga Bato ug Kahoy (“House of Wood and Stones”), this ancestral house was built, sometime between 1675 and 1700, and is considered as one of the oldest existing residential structures in the country and a proof that the Parian district in Cebu City was a bustling barangay where houses are often designed with a second storey.

The house was originally owned by Don Juan Yap, a Chinese merchant, together with his wife, Doña Maria Florido.  They had three children, namely: Maria, Eleuterio and Consolacion.

Portrait of house owners Val and Ofelia Sandiego

In the 1880’s, their eldest daughter, Maria Florido Yap, married Don Mariano Avendano San Diego from Obando, Bulacan, who was, at that time, the Parian’s cabeza de barangay (district head). Since then, the structure had become a busy center of activity in Parian.

In 2008, the house was handed down to the aforementioned Val Mancao San Diego, Doña Maria’s 10th generation great great grandson, and his wife Ofelia Zozobrado-San Diego.

An art collector, one of Cebu’s famous choreographers and a heritage icon, Val believe that this ancestral house was part of Cebu’s history and heritage so he carefully restored his ancestor’s home and turned it into a private museum.

Fine china

And though there have been offers to buy the house from him, he still continues to ignore such proposals and vows never to sell this historical house in his lifetime, no matter what the offer is.

Religious statuary

Though Val and his family don’t live in this house, every so often, during weekends, they still come over to stay at the house. This ancestral house was been featured in the book Chinese Houses of Southeast Asia of noted Chinese cultural historian Ronald G. Knapp (2010, Tuttle Publishing)

An antique harp

This 2-storey house, its design combining Spanish and Chinese architectural influences, has a ground floor built with coral stone, glued with egg whites, and a second floor built with tugas (molave) and balayong wood. The curving roof was made of tisa (red terra cotta clay tiles) from China, each piece weighing 1 kilogram.

Four-poster beds

Outside is a beautiful garden (a boat from the 1800s is currently being used as a flower bed) and a still functional old well (its water is only used for the plants).

The beautiful garden

The ground floor was unpaved (since it was only used as a warehouse or kamalig) but, before we ascended the second floor’s creaking staircase, we had to wear shoe cover booties to protect the hardwood floor upstairs from scratches.

Stairway

The house was filled with well-crafted life-sized statues, religious icons and images of santos, especially of the Sto. Niño (including one sitting on a rocking chair) and angels, in every size and material imaginable (the family was known to be deeply religious).

Dining Area

There’s also an impressive array of new contemporary and ancient artworks; priceless, century-old antique pieces; a wooden harp; fine china and cutlery; antique décor; clay jars for storing water and Cebuano-made native period furniture made of balayong, tugas and narra.

Most the old items which were preserved here came from Carcar, Cebu. The front door has a knocker that came from a Chinese temple.

The bedroom had a four-poster bed and a wooden baby crib. Also at the second floor is a banggerahan with its rack for drinking glasses and cups. Having survived natural calamities and earthquakes, the house has retained over 90% of the original structure.

Yap Sandiego Ancestral House: 155-Lopez Jaena corner Mabini St., 6000 Parian District, Cebu City, Cebu. Open daily, 9 AM – 7 PM. Admission: PhP50 per person.  Tel: (032) 514-3002, 514-3003 or 253-5568. Facebook: www.facebook.com/Yap-Sandiego-Ancestral-House-214835631903226/

How to Get There: From Marina Mall, ride a multicab or jeepney that carries a ‘highway’ signage and tell the driver to drop you off at Maguikay. From there, ride any Mandaue jeepney (with a “Catedral” or “Colon” signage) that will take you to Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral or Colon Street. Upon reaching these landmarks, The Yap-San Diego Ancestral House is just a walk away. At SM Cebu or near Radisson Blu Hotel, you can ride a jeep with 01K code. Go down at Shamrock and take a short walk to the right where you’ll find the Parian Plaza and its Heritage of Cebu Monument. The house is just a few steps away from it.

Check out “Heritage of Cebu Monument

Samurai Museum (Tokyo, Japan)

Samurai Museum. L-R: Bryan, Cheska, Kyle, the author, Grace and Jandy

The Samurai Museum (侍ミュージアム), an urban entertainment museum centrally located in the Kabukicho district of Tokyo’s Shinjuku (an area known more for its nightly entertainment than cultural facilities) ward, displays, under dramatic lighting, more than 70 examples of samurai armor, kabuto helmets and weapons gathered from Japanese and foreign collections.

A row of yoroi sets of armor

The rooms here are as Japanese as the museum creators can make it, with tatami mats, paper screens, very atmospheric lighting, Japanese music, etc..

The author beside a set of armor

The museum has two areas.  At the ground floor is the gift shop, the reception desk and an array of very beautifully arranged rows of yoroi sets of armor, mostly from the Muromachi (1336-1573) and Edo (1600-1868) periods.

Armor Sewn with Dark Blue Thread with 2-Piece Cuirass (Edo Period)

Facing them is a traditional painting depicting the Battle of Sekigahara. As soon as we entered the museum, we were transported into the world of Japan’s samurai culture.

Armor Sewn with Navy-Blue Thread (End of Muromachi Period)

At the first floor (or “second floor” in Japanese) are six smaller areas specializing in the Kamakura period.

Brown-Lacquered Armor (Beginning of Edo Period)

On display are swords and other bladed weapons, kabuto helmets, yoroi armor, matchlock guns and the passage to the modern era.

Brown-Lacquered Armor (Beginning of Edo Period)

The enthusiastic English-speaking guide first demonstrated a number of samurai sword moves and, for good measure, lets out a blood-curdling scream. The detailed explanation included information on the weapons on display.

Chiossone (Samurai helmet)

The actual number of exhibits wasn’t that big but it was enough to illustrate some of the main points of the history of the samurai. 

Copy of Iron Armor with 2-Piece Cuirass of Yukimura Sanada (Heisei Period)

We learned the meaning of the word “samurai;” what differentiates a samurai’s katana from other kinds of swords; that guns were also used in Japan during the time of the samurai; what was bushido (the “way of the samurai”); which animals and colors were thought to represent strength and why the samurai shave their heads.

Copy of the Armor of Kanatsugu Naoe (Heisei Period)

The guide also cleared some basic misconceptions regarding the samurai.  We learned that samurai warriors used disposable blades (after a few strikes, the blade was no longer sharp); that the sword was not “the soul of the samurai” (the bow and arrow was) and how important firearms were for the samurai who actually went to war. 

Gold Lacquered Armor with 2-Piece Cuirass (Late Edo Period)

Description of Armor Wearing

We also learned what was happening in Japanese history at the time of the rise of the samurai, including the Mongol invasion of Kyushu in the 13th century. We found out more about Japan’s three most famous samurai (Oda Nobunaga, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and Tokugawa Ieyasu); learned what kind of armor each wore to battle and how the style of each has been expressed through haiku poetry.

Image of Ieyasu Tokugawa

Golden Armor of Ieyasu Tokugawa (Heisei Period)

Portrait of Nobunaga Oda Shihon Choku Shoku

Copy of the Armor of Hideyoshi Toyotomi (Heisei Period)

Image of Hideyoshi Toyotomi

Even for someone who is somewhat familiar with the subject, some of the exhibits were indeed very interesting and friendly to the casual visitor, especially to us who came from abroad (about 60% of the museum’s visitors are Westerners, 35% are Asians and only 5% are Japanese)

Gold Lacquered Armor with 2-Piece Cuirass (Late Edo Period)

The exhibitions displayed in the second floor were in chronological order and so, to easily understand and appreciate the artifacts, each item on display had detailed descriptions written in English, Chinese and Korean.

Cheska and Bryan

The super popular Samurai Photo-Shooting corner was the piece de resistance of the tour. Jandy and Bryan had their pictures taken wearing a samurai helmet (kabuto), battle coat (jinbaori) then wielding a sword and trying their hands in Samurai cosplay.  Cheska wore a kimono.  Unfortunately, there were no outfits for Kyle.

Bryan

Jandy

Overall, the Samurai Museum was a fun way for young people and parents to spend a couple of hours to further understand what it truly means to be a samurai, one of the most well-known icons of Japanese culture, rather than for serious scholars of samurai culture and history.

Gold-Lacquered Saddle Seat with Unryu-zu (Ise Ise No Kami Sadamune)

As it was already late in the evening when we visited, we missed the 10-15-min. special afternoon performance of a quite intense and realistic sword battle featuring the instantaneous drawing of the sword (if you’re lucky you can catch a glimpse of a ninja).  Started since March 12, 2016, it was performed by professional actor Shinichiro Matsuura. Show times were 2PM, 3PM, 4PM and 5PM.

Katana (Japanese Sword, Oumo no Kami Tadayoshi, Middle of the Edo Period)

Japanese Sword (Dengassan, Middle of Muromachi Period)

Every Tuesday and Thursday, calligrapher Ms. Shiho Kurabayashi, designer of the logos for both the movie Sadako 3D as well as the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency, will give Japanese calligraphy lessons, an art form practiced, through the centuries, by samurai and nobles. Ink, paper and writing brush will be provided.

Mutsu no Kami Yoshiyuki (Heisei Period)

Nagamaki -Sword Blade with a Long Hilt (End of Edo Period)

Visitors who will take this course will learn the fundamentals, including how to hold a brush, the right posture for writing calligraphy, how to write three kinds of letters used in Japanese language (Hiragana, Katakana and Kanji), the meanings of some Kanji characters, and your name in Japanese letters. Afterwards, they can take their work home as a souvenir.

Naginata – Pole Sword (Hakuryu Yoshikazu)

Tachi (Sword, Middle of Kamakura Period)

Started since December 17, 2015, the approximately 1-hour lecture starts at 7PM. Shiho taught Japanese calligraphy (shodo) at an elementary school in the U.S.  She won a prize at Mainichi Shodo Exhibition and a special award at Taito Shodo Exhibition in Tokyo. Her prize-winning pieces also appeared on the Saitama Newspaper.

Large Armor Sewn with Red Thread (Heisei Period)

Satsuma Armor Sewn with Navy Blue Thread (Edo Period)

A Japanese sword lecture is also presented by Mr. Paul Martin, former curator at the British Museum and an expert on samurai swords.  He will teach you about Samurai history, as well as how to handle swords correctly. The talk lasts about 45 mins., with 45 mins. for viewing and additional questions.

Zohyo Monogatari (Stories of Common Soldiers)

Chiyoda no Oooku Ukiyoe (Japanese Woodblock Print)

For an additional fee of JP¥32,000 – 44,000 (depending on the armor chosen), visitors can opt for a “Sengoku” style, fully armed, photo shoot which includes photos as well as a CD-ROM containing the images. 

Matchlock Gun

Smith & Wesson, II – 32 Pistol (Heisei Period)

The Gift Shop offers a full range of original samurai gift items (authentic Japanese swords, sword stands, sword fittings, samurai armor, etc.) and samurai-themed souvenirs (dolls, replica swords, etc.)for sale as well as kitchenware, Japanese cooking knives and T-shirts.

Battle of Kawanakajima Ukiyoe (Japanese Woodblock Print)

A Crisis of Japan (Kano Seiseinin)

Samurai Museum: 1/F Eiwa Dairoku Bldg., 2 Chome-25-6 Kabukicho, 160-0021, Shinjuku, Tokyo.  Tel: +81 3-6457-6411.  Admission: JP¥1,900 (adults) and JP¥800 (children under 12 years of age).  Children 3 years old or under enter free if accompanied by an adult.
The sword show and samurai costume are included with museum admission. Open daily, 10:30AM to 9PM. (No admissions after 8:30 PM). Admission to the Japanese sword lecture (starting time: 7PM)and calligraphy lessons is JP¥5,000 (museum admission included). Advance reservation of two or more required. Website:  www.samuraimuseum.jp.  Gift Shop email: info@samuraigift.jp. Facebook: www.facebook.com/samuraimuseum.jp.

How to Get There: The museum is an 8-min. walk from Shinjuku Station’s East Exit on the JR Yamanote Line, a 4-min. walk from Seibu Shinjuku Station, a 6-min. walk from Higashi-Shinjuku Station Exit A1 and a 10-min. walk from Shinjuku Sanchome Station.

Kampana Museum (Lingayen, Pangasinan)

Kampana Museum, probably the only one of its kind in the country

The Kampana (“Bell”) Museum, probably the only museum of its kind in the country, is housed within the compound of the Cathedral of the Epiphany of Our Lord.  It displays an array of six old bells (some dating back to the 1800s) of different sizes (four of them still with their wooden yokes) of the parish on a raised concrete platform within a fenced in, shed-type enclosure.

Check out “Cathedral of the Epiphany of Our Lord

The array of six bells, a number of which are coated with verdigris

During the term of the first Team Ministry (when the “Three Kings” Parish was renamed “Epiphany of Our Lord Parish” in 1965) of the parish (composed of Fr. John R. Palinar, Fr. Jose S. Estrada, Fr. Manuel S. Bravo and Fr. Victor Z. Embuido), these church bells were replaced by new ones (sourced through donations from civic-spirited citizens here and abroad).

 

Bell inscribed with “Isaias Edralin,” probably a parish priest

These old church bells were, in turn, housed in a museum built during the term of the second Team Ministry (composed of Fr. Alberto T. Arenos, Fr. Camilo Natividad and Fr. Jovino Batecan).  The museum was inaugurated on March 31, 2002.

Bell inscribed with “Francisco Treserra,” probably a parish priest

AUTHOR’S NOTES:

Inscriptions on the bells oftentimes indicates the bell’s date of casting, its weight, the name of the saint (San Juan Bautista, Sta. Teresita, Jesus, Maria y Jose, etc.) to which it was dedicated; the name of the town (Lingayen) for which it was commissioned; the name of the parish priest (Francisco Treserra, Isaias Edralin, Felix Sanches, etc.), bishop (Cesar Ma. Guerrero, on February 22, 1929), pope (Pope Pius XI ); when it was cast; and even the name of the bell caster.

A bell inscribed with the names of Lingayen Bishop Cesar Ma. Guerrero and Pope Pius XI

I noticed one bell was cast in 1874, a second in 1883 and another in 1928. One bell is inscribed with “Fundicion de H. Sunico” possibly referring to metalsmith Hilario S. Sunico who cast 176 bells, dated 1872-98. His last known bell was dated 1937.

A bell inscribed with the year “1883”

Many of the bells are wrapped in a blue-green patina due to chemical reaction with air and sea water, over time, that causes copper, brass and bronze to form verdigris.The verdigris layer, which gives the bell its fragile beauty, actually protects the underlying metal from corrosion and degradation, which is why these bells are so durable.

A bell inscribed with “Jesus, Mary and Joseph”

Cathedral of the Epiphany of Our Lord: Poblacion, Lingayen, 2401 Pangasinan.  Tel: (075) 542-6235.

How to Get There: Lingayen is located 227 kms. (a 4.5-hour drive) from Manila and 94.9 kms. (a 3-hour drive) from Baguio City (Benguet).

Silliman University’s Anthropology Museum (Dumaguete City, Negros Oriental)

Anthropology Museum

Silliman University’s Anthropology Museum,  a must to visit if you are a tourist in Dumaguete City, was established in 1973 to bring the importance of the Filipino’s cultural heritage to the attention of the public. Formerly housed in the iconic Silliman Hall (the oldest American structure in the country), the museum was relocated to the second floor of Hibbard Hall in 2015.

Hibbard Hall

Hibbard Hall, built in 1932 and named after Dr. David Sutherland Hibbard, one of the founders of the institution, also houses the Office of the University Registrar.. It is a good museum to visit to get first-hand viewing of tools used on different historical ages of the Philippines.

The collections were well documented and arranged. The bulk of the artifacts displayed came from field works, excavations by Sillimanian anthropologists in the 1970s, purchases and donations.This airconditioned museum has seven galleries, from archaeological finds to anthropological artifacts. The first three contains exhibits collected from known cultural or ethnic groups all over the country.

Artifacts include simple tools and instruments such as basketry; woodwork; agricultural and aquatic tools; weapons (bows & arrows, etc.); clothing and ornaments; musical instruments impressive samples of Islamic cultural pieces and even objects of Siquijor “witchcraft” or traditional healing practices. The display is based on two general criteria: the type of social organization (incipient, tribal or sultanate) and the type of economic subsistence (hunting, and gathering, marginal agriculture or farming) under which ethnic group is categorized.

The last four galleries exhibit a variety of very wide-reaching and interesting artifacts, dating to the Pre-Colonial Period, collected from different parts of Negros Island and in the mountain areas of CotabatoOn display are excavated burial jars, clay pots believed to be used during burial rites; porcelain which date back to the Sung Period in the twelfth century; native jewelry; and a long wooden boat coffin with actual remains in it.

The Sultan Omar Kiram Collection tells the curious story of a young man, born in 1914, whose Christian name was Vicente Austria.  He was adopted into a wealthy Christian family and enjoyed the benefits of education and culture of that family. Later, as an army officer, he went to a Muslim village where his former nurse (yaya) recognized him and told him of his real heritage that he was, in fact, from a royal Muslim family and he was really Sultan Omar Kiram, the ruler of the Onayan Sultanate of Lanao del Sur, Mindanao.  He died in 1986 and his collection, which  includes his personal effects (clothes, different kinds of ceremonial swords, prayer beads, etc.),  was donated by his wife.

Rocks and Minerals

There’s also a display of precious gemstones and minerals and a short visual history of the Filipino people (Philippine Revolution, Second World War , Declaration of Independence, EDSA Revolution, etc.).

Anthropology Museum: 2/F, Hibbard Hall, Hibbard Ave., Silliman University, Dumaguete City. Open Mondays-Saturdays, 8 AM – 11:30 AM and 1:30 PM – 4:30 PM;  Sundays and holidays, by appointment. General Admission: PhP50 (Mondays – Saturdays); PhP100 (Sundays and holidays).  Children below 15 years and Filipino students: PhP20 (Mondays – Saturdays); PhP40 (Sundays and holidays).  Senior Citizen: PhP40 (Mondays – Saturdays); PhP80 (Sundays and holidays).

Carcar City Museum (Cebu)

Carcar City Museum (formerly Carcar Dispensary and Puericulture Center)

Part 6 of the Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort & Spa-sponsored City Tour

The very first museum in South Cebu, this museum is housed in the former Carcar Puericulture Center and Dispensary, a two-storey hospital for women and children. Resembling a doll house rather than a medical institution, it was perhaps meant that way to dispel the fears of the patients.

The second floor veranda

An excellent example of American-era civic architecture in the Philippines, this ornate and gracefully designed dispensary was initiated by Mayor Mariano Mercado in 1929 and inaugurated by Ms.Flora Base Mercado, the mayor’s wife, in 1937 with Gov. Sotero Cabahug in attendance.

Historical plaque

The building was inaugurated as the Carcar City Museum on July 8, 2008, during Carcar’s first anniversary as a city.

Calado woodwork

Stairs

This outstanding, beautifully restored white painted architectural landmark has a profusion of artful latticework, semicircular transoms, carved barandillas (railings) and mini-canopies and stained glass window panes. Beside the museum is a small gated park that pays homage to Don Mariano Mercado, who was responsible for many of Carcar’s beautiful landmarks.

The author at Carcar City Museum

Its galleries, in several rooms, feature objects with historical, cultural and artistic relevance such as a traditional corn milling stone, antique furniture, winning costumes used by Carcar contingents in numerous artistic performances, women’s clothing worn during that era, religious artifacts, leather cutters, kitchen utensils, journals, paintings, war weapons, medical tools, musical instruments and old news clippings about Gen. Pantaleon “Leon Kilat” Villegas.

Antique sewing machine

Farming implements

Props for Linambay (Cebuano term for komedya or moro-moro)

On the museum walls, visitors can see a chronology of events that took place in Carcar from the Pleistocene period up to the present. The terrace (terasa) is the best place to feel the cold breeze from the outside. 

Aparador

Bajo de unas (double bass) used in a rondalla 

Sousaphone

Carcar City Museum: Carcar Square, Carcar City, Cebu.  Open Mondays to Saturdays, 8 AM to 5 PM. Admission: free.

Bluewater Maribago Beach Resort & Spa: Buyong, Maribago, Lapu-Lapu City, 6015, Cebu. Tel: (032) 492-0100. Fax: (032) 492-1808.  E-mail: maribago@bluewater.com.ph.   Website: www.bluewatermaribago.com.ph.  Metro Manila sales office: Rm. 704, Cityland Herrera Tower, 98 Herrera cor. Valero Sts., Salcedo Village, Makati City, Metro Manila. Tel: (02) 887-1348 and (02) 817-5751. Fax: (02) 893-5391.

Mangrove Protection and Information Center (Del Carmen, Surigao del Norte)

Mangrove Protection & Information Center

After a lunch prepared for us by Surigao del Norte District I Cong. Francisco Jose “Bingo” Matugas II and hosted by Del Carmen Mayor Alfredo M. Coro II at Krokodeilos, we proceeded to the nearby Mangrove Protection and Information Center (MPIC). The first of its kind in the Philippines, it was inaugurated last November 15, 2014 as part of the town’s and Metro Pacific Investments Foundation’s (with the support of the Manny V. Pangilinan group of companies) “Siargao It Up!” program (started in 2009) which promotes environmental awareness throughout the whole country.

A center for the protection and propagation of mangrove trees in the coastal estuaries, including the rehabilitation of degraded mangroves in the whole island of Siargao, it aims to let locals, tourists and guests know of the importance and benefits of mangroves in terms of biodiversity and its contribution to the safety of the coastal communities.

Del Carmen Mayor Alfredo M. Coro II (in blue shirt and shades) meeting with members of print media

To date, this program has successfully propagated around 800 hectares of new mangroves. As a result of its efforts, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has conferred on Del Carmen  the Environmental Hero Award.  The town observes its Shore It Up Week every first week of March.

A complete skeleton of a saltwater crocodile on display

Mangrove forests are sanctuaries to rare and endangered wildlife species such as the Philippine Cockatoo, the Hawksbill Turtle, the Green Sea Turtle, the Golden Crown Flying Fox, Dinagat Gymnure, the Olive Ridley Turtle and the endangered dugong. It also prevents soil erosion, protects coastline from strong winds and waves, and filters off agricultural run-off and pollution. It is also a breeding ground for different marine organisms; is a source of food, medicines and firewood; and supplies dissolved organic matter for nutrient cycle.

An array of crocodile skulls

According to Mayor Coro, Siargao has an approximately 8,600 hectares of mangrove cover, the second largest in Mindanao, and 4,259 hectares of contiguous mangrove are found in Del Carmen, the largest in the Philippines. Out of the 54 mangrove species worldwide, 44 can be found in Del Carmen, and the Crocodylus porosus, the largest of all living saltwater crocodiles, can be found in the town’s mangrove forest. The town’s vast mangrove forest has also become a major tourist destination in Siargao, with 21 boat operators doing from three to four trips per day, thus generating income for the local economy.

Display case with a collection of different sea shells

On display here are educational materials, a collection of sea shells and a complete skeleton of a saltwater crocodile as well as a number of skulls. Outside is a preserved saltwater crocodile. Measuring 14 feet and 9 inches long, and 2 feet and 8 inches wide, it was discovered floating dead, last October 27, 2016, by the mangroves in Brgy. Esperanza, 8 kms. from the town proper.

Preserved remains of a saltwater crocodile

Siargao Tourism Office: Paseo De Cabuntog, Brgy. Catangnan, Gen. Luna, Siargao Island. Mobile number: (0921) 718-2268 (Ms. Donna Grace T. Estrella – Siargao Tourism Coordinator)

Mangrove Protection and Information Center (MPIC): Poblacion, 8418 Del Carmen, Surigao Del Norte.  E-mail: shoreitup.org@gmail.com. Website: www.shoreitup.org.  Facebook: www.facebook.com/SiargaoMangroveCenter.

How to Get There: Skyjet Airlines has daily, 100-min. direct flights from Manila (NAIA Terminal 4) to Siargao (Sayak Airport). ETD Manila at 6 AM (M8-421), ETA Siargao at 7:40 AM. Return flights: ET Siargao at 8:10 AM (M8-422), ETD Manila at 9:50 AM.

Skyjet Airlines: Manila Domestic Airport, Parking A, Terminal 4, NAIA Complex, Brgy. 191, Pasay City, Metro Manila. Tel: (02) 863-1333 and (02) 823-3366. E-mail: sales@skyjetair.com. Website: www.skyjetair.com.

The USS Constitution – Old Ironsides (Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

The USS Constitution (Old Ironsides)

After our visit to USS Constitution Museum and  the World War II Fletcher-class destroyer USS Cassin Young, Jandy and I proceeded to the highlight of our tour of the Charlestown Navy Yard – our visit to the USS Constitution. There was already a long queue of visitors waiting for the gates to open when we arrived (it opened at 3:30 PM).  To get in, we had to show valid IDs (in this case our passports).

Check out “USS Constitution Museum” and “USS Cassin Young

The ship at Dry Dock 1

The USS Constitution, a wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate of the United States Navy launched in 1797, is usually berthed at Pier 1 of the former Charlestown Navy Yard, at one end of Boston’s Freedom Trail  but, during our visit, it was in Dry Dock 1 (here since May 18, 2015) for her scheduled 2-year restoration program to restore the copper sheets on the ship’s hull and replace additional deck boards.  The lower deck was stripped of her guns.

The ship’s prow

Constitution is most noted for her actions during the War of 1812 against the United Kingdom, when she captured numerous merchant ships and defeated the British warships HMS GuerriereJavaPictouCyane and Levant during four separate engagements. She earned the nickname “Old Ironsides” because the cannon fire during here encounter with the Guerriere  seemed as if they couldn’t penetrate her strong oak hull.

The author at the gangplank leading up to the ship

Constitution’s stated mission today is to promote understanding of the Navy’s role in war and peace through educational outreach, historical demonstration, and active participation in public events as part of the Naval History & Heritage Command.

A member of the ship’s crew narrating the history of the ship to visitors

As a fully commissioned U.S. Navy ship, her crew of 60 officers and sailors participate in ceremonies, educational programs, and special events while keeping her open to visitors year round and providing free tours.

Jandy beside the double steering wheel of the ship

The officers and crew are all active-duty U.S. Navy personnel, and the assignment is considered to be special duty in the U.S. Navy. Traditionally, command of the vessel is assigned to a Navy commander.

List of Commanding Officers of the USS Constitution

The Constitution, open to the public year-round, typically makes at least one “turnaround cruise” each year, during which she is towed into Boston Harbor to perform underway demonstrations, including a gun drill.  She then returns to her dock in the opposite direction to ensure that she weathers evenly. The “turnaround cruise” is open to the general public based on a “lottery draw” of interested persons. The privately run USS Constitution Museum is nearby, located in a restored shipyard building at the foot of Pier Two.

National Historic Landmark Plaque

Here are some interesting trivia regarding this historic ship:

  • It was named by Pres. George Washington after the Constitution of the United States of America.
  • The Constitution was one of six original frigates authorized for construction by the Naval Act of 1794and the third constructed.  Joshua Humphreys designed the frigates to be the young Navy’s capital ships, and so Constitution and her sisters were larger and more heavily armed and built than standard frigates of the period. She was built in the North End of Boston, Massachusetts at Edmund Hartt‘s shipyard.
  • Her first duties with the newly formed U.S. Navy were to provide protection for American merchant shipping during the Quasi-War with France and to defeat the Barbary pirates in the First Barbary War.
  • She is the world’s oldest commissioned naval vessel still afloat
  • The battle with Guerriere earned her the nickname of “Old Ironsides” and public adoration that has repeatedly saved her from scrapping.
  • Though the Constitution was rated as a 44-gun frigate, she often carried more than 50 guns at a time.
  • During the War of 1812, Constitution’s battery of guns typically consisted of thirty 24-pounder (11 kgs.) cannons, with 15 on each side of the gun deck. A total of 22 cannons were deployed on the spar deck, 11 per side, each a 32-pounder (15 kgs.) carronade. Four chase guns were also positioned, two each at the stern and bow.
  • Constitution’s hull was built 530 mm. (21 in.) thick and her length between perpendiculars was 53 m. (175 ft.), with a 62 m. (204 ft.) length overall and a width of 13.26 m. (43 ft. 6 in.).
  • Her six-sail battle configuration consisted of jibs, topsails and driver.
  • In total, 24 hectares (60 acres) of trees, primarily pine and oak (including southern live oak which was cut from Gascoigne Bluff and milled near  Simons, Georgia) were needed for her construction.
  • Many times, souvenirs were made from her old planking. Isaac Hull ordered walking canes, picture frames and even a phaeton that was presented to Pres. Andrew Jackson. Funds for her 1927-1931 restoration were also raised from memorabilia made of her discarded planking.
  • Busts, depicting Isaac Hull, William Bainbridge and Charles Stewart, were added to her stern, remaining in place for the next 40 years. A figurehead of President Andrew Jackson witht a top hat was also installed under the bowsprit, a subject of much controversy due to Jackson’s political unpopularity in Boston at the time. Another likeness of Jackson, this time with a more Napoleonic pose, was installed in 1847.
  • Most of the required funds for her 1927-1931 restoration were raised privately.  In 1924, the estimated cost of her repair was US$400,000 but it reached over US$745,000 after costs of materials were realized. The first effort, sponsored by the national Elks Lodge, raised US$148,000 from pennies donated by schoolchildren. In September 1926, Wilbur Secretary of the Navy Curtis D. Wilbur began to sell copies of a painting of Constitution at 50 cents per copy. The silent film Old Ironsides, portraying Constitution during the First Barbary War, premiered in December 1926, helped spur more contributions to her restoration fund. Memorabilia made of her discarded planking and metal also raised funds. More than US$600,000 was eventually raised after expenses, still short of the required amount. To complete the restoration, Congress approved up to US$300,000. The final cost of the restoration was US$946,000.
  • Materials for its restoration, especially the live oak needed, were difficult to find. Lt. John A. Lord, selected to oversee the 1927-1931 reconstruction project, uncovered a long-forgotten stash of some 1,500 short tons (1,400 t) of live oak (cut sometime in the 1850s for a ship building program that never began) at Naval Air Station Pensacola, Florida. During her 1973-1974 restoration, large quantities of red oak, added in the 1950s as an experiment to see if it would last better than the live oak, were removed and replaced (it had mostly rotted away by 1970). “Constitution Grove,” a 100 sq. km. (25,000-acre) tract of land located at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Indiana dedicated by Cmdr. Tyrone G. Martin in May 1976, now supplies the majority of the white oak required for repair work. For the 1995 restoration, live oak trees felled by Hurricane Hugo in 1989 were also donated by the city of Charleston, South Carolina.  The International Paper Company also donated live oak from its own property.
  • For the 3-year tour of the country in the 1930s, many amenities were installed to prepare her including water piping throughout, modern toilet and shower facilities, electric lighting to make the interior visible for visitors, and several peloruses for ease of navigation. The tour began with much celebration and a 21-gun salute, at Portsmouth, New Hampshire.  Due to the schedule of visits on her itinerary (90 port cities along the Atlantic, Gulf, and Pacific coasts), she was towed by the minesweeper Grebe and she went as far north as Bar Harbor, Maine, south and into the Gulf of Mexico then through the Panama Canal Zone, and north again to Bellingham, Washington on the Pacific Coast.
  • Since her 1927–1931 restoration, all of the guns aboard Constitution are replicas. Most were cast in 1930, but two carronades on the spar deck were cast in 1983. In order to restore the capability of firing ceremonial salutes, a modern 40 mm. (1.6 in.) saluting gun was hidden inside the forward long gun on each side during her 1973–1976 restoration.
  • During the 1976 Bicentennial, over 900,000 visitors toured “Old Ironsides.”
  • The Naval History and Heritage Command Detachment Boston, responsible for planning and performing her maintenance, repair, and restoration, keeping her as close as possible to her 1812 configuration, estimates that approximately 10–15%of the timber in Constitution contains original material installed during her initial construction period in the years 1795–1797.
  • In 2003, the special effects crew from the production of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World spent several days using Constitution as a computer model, using stem-to-stern digital image scans of “Old Ironsides,”for the fictional French frigate Acheron.

The lower deck of the ship

Here’s the historical timeline of the Constitution:

  • On November 1, 1794, the Constitution’s keel is laid down at Edmund Hartt‘s shipyard in Boston, Massachusetts under the supervision of Capt. Samuel Nicholson and master shipwright George Claghorn
  • On September 20, 1797, the Constitution is launched in a ceremony attended by Pres. John Adams and Massachusetts Gov. Increase Sumner.
  • On October 21, 1797, after a month of rebuilding the ways, the Constitution finally slips into Boston Harbor, with Capt. James Sever breaking a bottle of Madeira wine on her bowsprit.
  • On the evening of July 22, 1798, she puts to sea, with orders to patrol the Eastern seaboard between New Hampshire and New York.
  • On September 8, 1798, off the coast of Charleston, South Carolina, the Constitution intercepts the Niger, a 24-gun ship sailing with a French crew, en route from Jamaica to Philadelphia, claiming to have been under the orders of Great Britain. Nicholson has the crewmen imprisoned, placing a prize crew aboard Niger and bringing her into Norfolk, Virginia. The ship and her crew are released to continue their voyage and the American government pays a restitution of $11,000 to Great Britain.
  • On December 29, 1798, after repairs to her bowsprit which was severely damaged in a gale, the Constitution departs Boston.
  • On January 15, 1799, the Constitution intercepts the Spencer, an English merchantman which had been taken prize by the French frigate L’Insurgente a few days prior. Though technically a French ship operated by a French prize crew, Nicholson releases the Spencer and her crew the next morning.
  • On March 1, 1799, the Constitution encounters HMS Santa Margarita whose captain was an acquaintance of Nicholson. The two agree to a sailing duel and, after 11 hours of sailing, Santa Margarita lowers her sails and admits defeat, paying off the bet with a cask of wine to Nicholson.
  • On March 27, 1799, the Constitution manages to recapture the American sloop Neutrality and, a few days later, the French ship Carteret.
  • On May 14, 1799, she returns to Boston and Nicholson was relieved of command.
  • On July 23, 1799, after repairs and resupply are completed, the Constitution departs Boston, now under the command of Capt. Silas Talbot, for Saint-Domingue in the West Indies, via Norfolk, on a mission to interrupt French shipping.
  • On September 15, 1799, she takes the Amelia from a French prize crew and Talbot sends the ship back to New York City with an American prize crew.
  • On October 15, 1799, the Constitution arrives at Saint-Domingue and rendezvous with BostonGeneral Greene and Norfolk.
  • On July 13, 1800, she puts into Cap Français for repairs of her mainmast.
  • On July 23, 1800, the Constitution is relieved of duty by the Constellation.
  • On August 24, 1800, after the Constitution escorts 12 merchantmen to Philadelphia, she puts in at Boston where she receives new masts, sails and rigging.
  • On December 17, 1800, the Constitution again sails for the West Indies as squadron flagship, rendezvousing with CongressAdamsAugustaRichmond and Trumbull.
  • On July 2, 1802, she is placed in ordinary.
  • On May 13, 1803, during the Quasi-War with the Barbary States, Capt. Edward Preble recommissions Constitution as his flagship and makes preparations to command a new squadron for a blockade attempt.
  • On August 14, 1803, the Constitution departs Boston.
  • On September 6, 1803, she almost has a near encounter with the HMS Maidstone, a 32-gun frigate, near the Rock of Gibraltar.
  • On September 12, 1803, the Constitution arrives at Gibraltar where Preble waits for the other ships of the squadron.
  • On October 3, 1803, the Constitution and Nautilus departs Gibraltar
  • On October 4, 1803, they arrive at TangiersAdams and New York arrives the next day. With four American warships in his harbor, the Sultan was glad to arrange the transfer of ships between the two nations
  • On October 14, 1803, Preble departs with his squadron, heading back to Gibraltar.
  • On the morning of August 3, 1804, the ConstitutionArgusEnterpriseScourgeSyren, six gunboats, and two bomb ketches arrive and immediately begin operations for the attack on Tripoli. In the harbor, Constitution and her squadron severely damage or destroy, in a series of attacks over the coming month, the 22 Tripoline gunboats that meet them, taking their crews prisoner. Constitution primarily provided gunfire support, bombarding the shore batteries of Tripoli.
  • On August 11, 1804, the Constitution is ordered to Malta for repairs and, while en route, captures two Greek vessels attempting to deliver wheat into Tripoli.
  • On August 12, 1804, a collision with the President, attributed to a sudden change in wind direction, severely damages the ship’s bow, stern and the figurehead of Hercules.
  • On November 9, 1804, while she underwent repairs and resupply in Malta, Capt. John Rodgers assumes command of Constitution.
  • On April 5, 1805, she resumes the blockade of Tripoli, capturing a Tripoline xebec, along with two prizes that the xebec had captured.
  • On June 3, 1805, a peace treaty with Tripoli was signed  on board the Constitution
  • On July 30, 1805, she arrives in Tunis.
  • On August 14, 1805, after a a short-term blockade of the harbor by the Constitution, CongressConstellationEnterpriseEssexFranklinHornetJohn AdamsNautilusSyren and eight gunboats, a peace treaty was signed.
  • On May 29, 1806, after performing routine patrols and observing the French and Royal Navy operations of the Napoleonic Wars, Rodgers turns over the command of the squadron and Constitution to Capt. Hugh G. Campbell.
  • On May 15, 1807, James Barron sails the Chesapeake out of Norfolk to replace Constitution as the flagship of the Mediterranean squadron. However, he encounters HMS Leopard, resulting in the Chesapeake–Leopard Affair and delaying the relief of Constitution.
  • On September 8, 1807, Campbell and the squadron are ordered home and set sail for Boston
  • On October 14, 1807, the squadron arrives in Boston.
  • On December 1807, the Constitution is recommissioned, with Capt. John Rodgers again taking command to oversee a major refitting and overhaul at a cost just under $100,000.
  • On June 1810, Isaac Hull takes command.
  • On August 5, 1811, Hull departs for France, transporting the new Ambassador Joel Barlow and his family, arriving on September 1.
  • On February 18, 1812, they arrive back to the United States.
  • On July 12, 1812, after war is declared with Britain on June 18, Hull put to sea attempting to join the five ships of a squadron under the command of Rodgers in the President.
  • On July 17, 1812, off Egg Harbor, New Jersey, Hull sights 5 ships (HMS AeolusAfricaBelvideraGuerriere and Shannon) of a British squadron out of Halifax. They sight the Constitution and give chase.
  • On July 19, 1812, after a 57-hour chase, the Constitution finally outruns the squadron, pumping overboard 2,300 US gal (8.7 kl) of drinking water and pulled far enough ahead of the British that they abandoned the pursuit.
  • On July 27, 1812, Constitution arrives in Boston and remains there just long enough to replenish her supplies.
  • On August 2, 1812, to avoid being blockaded in port, Hull sails without orders, heading on a northeast route towards the British shipping lanes near Halifax and the Gulf of Saint LawrenceConstitution captures 3 British merchantmen, which Hull burns rather than risk taking them back to an American port.
  • On August 16, 1812, he sails in pursuit of a British frigate 190 kms. (120 mi.) to the south.
  • On August 19, 1812, he sights the frigate HMS Guerriere and, after a furious battle, the Constitution’s sailing ability and heavier broadsides turned the British frigate into an unmanageable hulk, with close to a third of her crew wounded or killed, while Constitution remained largely intact as many of the British shots had rebounded harmlessly off its hull. The British surrendered. The Guerriere was so badly damaged that she was not worth towing to port and, the next morning, Hull ordered her to be burned after transferring the British prisoners onto Constitution.
  • On August 30, 1812, the Constitution arrives back in Boston where Hull and his crew find that news of their victory has spread fast, and they are hailed as heroes.
  • On September 8, 1812, William Bainbridge takes command of the Constitution and prepares her for another mission in British shipping lanes near Brazil
  • On October 27, 1812, she sets sail with the Hornet
  • On December 13, 1812, they arrive near São Salvador, sighting HMS Bonne Citoyenne in the harbor. The captain of Bonne Citoyenne, reportedly carrying $1,600,000 in specie to England, refuses to leave the neutral harbor lest he lose his cargo. Constitution sails offshore in search of prizes, leaving Hornet to await the departure of Bonne Citoyenne.
  • On December 29, 1812, she meets with HMS Java, under Capt. Henry Lambert and, after continuously raking her with broadsides, Java lays in shambles, an unmanageable wreck with a badly wounded crew, and she surrenders. Java is far too damaged to retain as a prize and Bainbridge orders her burned. Bainbridge is wounded twice during the battle.
  • On January 1, 1813, Constitution returns to São Salvador to disembark the prisoners of Java, where she meets with Hornet and her two British prizes.
  • On January 5, 1813, Bainbridge orders Constitution to sail for Boston for extensive repairs.
  • On February 15, 1813, the Constitution arrives in Boston to even greater celebrations than Hull had received a few months earlier.
  • On July 18, 1813, Charles Stewart takes command of the ship, struggling to complete the construction and recruitment of a new crew.
  • On December 31, 1813, she finally makes sail, setting course for the West Indies to harass British shipping.
  • By late March 1814, she captures 5 merchant ships and the 14-gun HMS Pictou. She also pursues HMS Columbine and HMS Pique but, after realizing that she is an American frigate, both ships escape.
  • On March 27, 1814, her mainmast splits off the coast of Bermuda requiring immediate repair.
  • On April 3, 1814, while enroute to Boston, British ships HMS Junon and Tenedos  pursue her but, after drinking water, food and spirits were cast overboard to lighten her load and gain speed, she makes her way into Marblehead, Massachusetts where the British call off the pursuit. Two weeks later, Constitution makes her way into Boston harbor where she remains blockaded in port until mid-December.
  • On the afternoon of December 18, 1814, the Constitution escapes from Boston Harbor and again sets course for Bermuda. Capt. George Collier gathers a squadron consisting of the 50-gun HMS Leander, Newcastle and Acasta and sets off in pursuit, but he was unable to overtake her.
  • On December 24, 1814, the Constitution intercepts the merchantman Lord Nelson and places a prize crew on board.
  • On February 8, 1815, Constitution is cruising off Cape Finisterre when Stewart learns that the Treaty of Ghent has been signed.
  • On February 16, 1815, realizing that a state of war still exists until the treaty is ratified, the Constitution captures the British merchantman Susanna (her cargo of animal hides were valued at $75,000).
  • On February 20, 1815, the Constitution sights the small British ships Cyane and Levant sailing in company and gives chase, capturing both of them.
  • On March 10, 1815, the trio arrives at Porto Praya at the Cape Verde Islands.
  • On the morning of March 11, 1815, Collier’s squadron was spotted on a course for the harbor, and Stewart orders all ships to sail immediately. Cyane is able to elude the squadron and make sail for America, where she arrives on April 10, but Levant is overtaken and recaptured. While Collier’s squadron was distracted with Levant, the Constitution makes its escape.
  • On April 2, 1815, Constitution puts into Maranhão to offload her British prisoners and replenish her drinking water.
  • On April 28, 1815, after receiving verification of Treaty of Ghent at San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Constitution sets course for New York
  • On May 15, 1815, the Constitution arrives in New York to large celebrations.
  • In January 1816, Constitution is moved to Boston and placed in ordinary, sitting out the Second Barbary War.
  • In April 1820, Isaac Hull, now Charlestown Navy Yard’s commandant, directs a refitting of Constitution to prepare her for duty with the Mediterranean Squadron.
  • On May 13, 1821, the Constitution, now under Jacob Jones, departs on a three-year uneventful tour of duty in the Mediterranean, sailing in company with Ontario and Nonsuch.
  • On May 31, 1824, Constitution arrives in Boston and Jones is relieved of command, replaced by Thomas Macdonough.
  • On October 29, 1824, the Constitution sails for the Mediterranean under the direction of John Rodgers in North Carolina.
  • During December and into January 1826, Constitution puts in for repairs.
  • On February 21, 1826, Daniel Todd Patterson assumes command after Macdonough resigns his command for health reasons on October 9, 1825.
  • By August 1826, she puts into Port Mahon, suffering decay of her spar deck, and she remains there until temporary repairs are completed in March 1827.
  • On July 4, 1828 Constitution returned to Boston and was placed in reserve.
  • On September 14, 1830, an article appeared in the Boston Advertiser which erroneously claims that the Navy intended to scrap Constitution.
  • On September 16, 1830, Oliver Wendell Holmes‘ poem “Old Ironsides” is published in the same paper and later all over the country, igniting public indignation and inciting efforts to save “Old Ironsides” from the scrap yard.
  • After Secretary Branch approves the repair cost of over $157,000, and Constitution begins a leisurely repair period while awaiting completion of the dry dock, then under construction at the yard.
  • On June 24, 1833, Constitution enters dry dock and Capt. Jesse Elliott, the new commander of the Navy yard, oversees her reconstruction. Constitution had 760 mm. (30 in.) of hogin her keel and she remains in dry dock until June 21, 1834.
  • In March 1835, the Constitution, with Elliot in command, gets underway to New York
  • On March 16, 1835, Constitution sets a course for France to deliver Edward Livingston to his post as Minister.
  • On April 10, 1835, she arrives in France
  • On May 16, 1835, Constitution begins the return voyage back to Boston
  • On June 23, 1835, she arrives back in Boston
  • On August 19, 1835, Constitution sails again to take her station as flagship in the Mediterranean
  • On September 19, 1835, she arrives at Port Mahon to begin her uneventful duty over the next two years as she and United States make routine patrols and diplomatic visits.
  • From April 1837 into February 1838, Elliot collects various ancient artifacts to carry back to America.
  • On July 31, 1835, Constitution arrives in Norfolk.
  • On March 1, 1839, as flagship of the Pacific Squadron under the command of Capt. Daniel Turner, she begins her next voyage with the duty of patrolling the western coast of South America, visiting Valparaíso, Callao, Paita and Puna.
  • On August 29, 1841, on her return voyage, Emperor Pedro II of Brazil visits her at Rio de Janeiro.
  • On October 31, 1841, she returns to Norfolk.
  • On June 22, 1842 she is recommissioned, under the command of Foxhall Alexander Parker, for duty with the Home Squadron. After spending months in port she puts to sea for 3 weeks during December, then is again put in ordinary.
  • In late 1843, she is moored at Norfolk, serving as a receiving ship.
  • On November 6, 1843, Capt. John Percival makes necessary repairs and upgrades on the ship at a cost of $10,000 and after several months of labor.
  • On May 29, 1844, Constitution gets underway carrying Ambassador to Brazil Henry A. Wise and his family
  • On August 2, 1844, after making two port visits along the way, she arrives at Rio de Janeiro.
  • On September 8, 1844, Constitution sails again, making port calls at Madagascar, Mozambique, and Zanzibar
  • On January 1, 1845, she arrives in Sumatra where many of her crew begin to suffer from dysentery and fevers, causing several deaths, which leads Percival to set course for Singapore
  • On February 8, 1845, Constitution arrives in Singapore where Commodore Henry Ducie Chads (a lieutenant in the Java when she surrendered to William Bainbridge 33 years earlier) of the HMS Cambrian pays a visit to Constitution, offering what medical assistance his squadron could provide.
  • On May 10, 1845, after leaving Singapore, Constitution arrives in Turon, Cochinchina (present day Da Nang, Vietnam).
  • On May 26, 1845, after failing to obtain the release of French missionary Dominique Lefèbvre who was being held captive under sentence of death, the Constitution departs.
  • On June 20, 1845, she arrives in Canton, China and spends the next six weeks there, with Percival making shore and diplomatic visits.
  • On September 18, 1845, she reaches Manila, spending a week there preparing to enter the Pacific Ocean.
  • On September 28, 1845, she sails for the Hawaiian Islands
  • On November 16, 1845, the Constitution arrives in Honolulu where she finds Commodore John D. Sloat and his flagship Savannah there
  • On January 13, 1846, after provisioning for six months, the Constitution arrives in Mazatlán, Mexico as the United States was preparing for war after the Texas annexation.
  • On April 22, 1846, after sitting at anchor for more than 3 months, she sails for home.
  • On July 4, 1846, she rounds Cape Horn. Upon arrival at Rio de Janeiro, the ship’s party learns that the Mexican War had begun on May13, soon after their departure from Mazatlán.
  • On September 27, 1846, she arrives in Boston
  • On October 5, 1846, the Constitution is mothballed.
  • In 1847, the Constitution begins refitting for duty with the Mediterranean Squadron.
  • On December 9, 1848, under Capt. John Gwinn, the Constitution departs.
  • On January 19, 1849, she arrives in Tripoli.
  • On August 1, 1849, at Gaeta,  she receives King Ferdinand II and Pope Pius IX on board, giving them a 21-gun salute, the first time that a Pope set foot on American territory or its equivalent.
  • On September 1, 1849, Capt. Gwinn dies of chronic gastritis at Palermo and, on September 9, is buried near Lazaretto.
  • On September 18, 1849, Capt. Thomas Conover assumes command  and resumes routine patrolling for the rest of the tour,
  • On December 1, 1850, she heads home and is involved in a severe collision with the English brig Confidence, cutting her in half and sinking her with the loss of her captain. The surviving crew members are carried back to America
  • On January 1851, the Constitution is again put back in ordinary, this time at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
  • On December 22, 1852, the Constitution is recommissioned under the command of John Rudd.
  • On March 2, 1853, she departs the yard on a leisurely sail towards Africa, carrying Commodore Isaac Mayo for duty with the African Squadron
  • On June 18, 1853, she arrives in Africa with Mayo making a diplomatic visit in Liberia to arrange a treaty between the Gbarbo and the Grebo tribes, resorting to firing cannons into the village of the Gbarbo in order to get them to agree to the treaty.
  • On November 3, 1853, near Angola, the Constitution takes the American ship H. N. Gambrill (the Constitution’s final capture), which was involved in the slave trade, as a prize.
  • On March 31, 1855, she sails for home but is diverted to Havana, Cuba
  • On March 16, 1855, she arrives in Havana
  • On March 24, 1855, she departs Havana for Portsmouth Navy Yard
  • On June 14, 1855, she is decommissioned, ending her last duty on the front lines.
  • In 1857, Constitution is moved to dry dock at the Portsmouth Navy Yard for conversion into a training ship. Classrooms are added on her spar and gun decks and her armament is reduced to only 16 guns. Her rating was changed to a “2nd rate ship.”
  • On August 1, 1860, she is recommissioned and moves from Portsmouth to the US Naval Academy.
  • In April 1861, at the outbreak of the Civil War, Constitution is ordered to relocate farther north after threats are made against her by Confederate sympathizers. Several companies of Massachusetts volunteer soldiers are stationed aboard for her protection.
  • On April 29, 1861, she arrives in New York City after being towed there by R. R. Cuyler. She was subsequently relocated, along with the Naval Academy, to Fort Adams in Newport, Rhode Island for the duration of the war.
  • On August 1865, Constitution, along with the rest of the Naval Academy, moves back to Annapolis. Once settled in at the Academy, a series of upgrades are installed that includes steam pipes and radiators to supply heat from shore, along with gas lighting.
  • From June to August each year, she would depart with midshipmen for their summer training cruise and then return to operate for the rest of the year as a classroom.
  • In June 1867, her last known plank owner William Bryant dies in Maine.
  • On November 1867, George Dewey assumes command and serves as her commanding officer until 1870.
  • In 1871, her condition had deteriorated to the point where she is retired as a training ship
  • On September 26, 1871, after being towed to the Philadelphia Navy Yard, she is again placed in ordinary.
  • Beginning in 1873, Constitution is overhauled in order to participate in the centennial celebrations of the United States. Work begins slowly and is intermittently delayed by the transition of the Philadelphia Navy Yard to League Island.
  • By late 1875, the Navy opens bids for an outside contractor to complete the work
  • In May 1876, Constitution is moved to Wood, Dialogue, and Company  where a coal bin and a small boiler for heat were installed. At this time The Andrew Jackson figurehead is removed and given to the Naval Academy Museum where it remains today.
  • During the rest of 1876, her construction drags on until the centennial celebrations had long passed, and the Navy decided that she would be used as a training and school ship for apprentices.
  • On January 9, 1878, Oscar C. Badger takes command to prepare her for a voyage to the Paris Exposition of 1878, transporting artwork and industrial displays to France. Three railroad cars are lashed to her spar deck and all but two cannons are removed.
  • On March 4, 1878, she departs for France. While docking at Le Havre, she collides with Ville de Paris, resulting in her entering dry dock for repairs and remaining in France for the rest of 1878.
  • On January 16, 1878, she gets underway for the United States
  • On January 17, 1878, poor navigation runs her aground near Bollard Head. She is towed into the Portsmouth Naval Dockyard, Hampshire, England, where only minor damage is found and repaired.
  • On February 13, 1878, during heavy storms, her rudder is damaged, resulting in a total loss of steering control with the rudder smashing into the hull at random. To secure it, 3 crewmen go over the stern on ropes and boatswain’s chairs.
  • The morning of February 14, 1878, they rig a temporary steering system and Badger sets a course for the nearest port
  • On February 18, 1878, she arrived in Lisbon where slow dock services delay her departure.
  • On April 11, 1878, she departs Lisbon
  • On May 24, 1878, she arrives in the United State where Constitution returns to her previous duties of training apprentice boys. Over the next two years, she continues her training cruises.
  • In 1881, after it soon became apparent that her overhaul in 1876 had been of poor quality, Constitution was determined to be unfit for service and, as funds were lacking for another overhaul, she was decommissioned, ending her days as an active-duty naval ship. She is moved to the Portsmouth Navy Yard and used as a receiving ship. There, she had a housing structure built over her spar deck, and her condition continued to deteriorate, with only a minimal amount of maintenance performed to keep her afloat.
  • In 1896, aware of her condition, Massachusetts Congressman John F. Fitzgerald proposes to Congress that funds be appropriated to restore her enough to return to Boston.
  • On September 21, 1897, she arrives, under tow, at the Charlestown Navy Yard and, after her centennial celebrations in October, she lays there with an uncertain future.
  • In 1900, Congress authorizes restoration of Constitution but does not appropriate any funds for the project.
  • In 1903, the Massachusetts Historical Society‘s president Charles Francis Adams requests Congress that Constitution be rehabilitated and placed back into active service.
  • In 1905, after Secretary of the Navy Charles Joseph Bonaparte suggests that Constitution be towed out to sea and used as target practice, after which she would be allowed to sink, Moses H. Gulesian, a businessman from Worcester, Massachusetts, reads about this in a Boston newspaper and offers to purchase her for US$10,000. The State Department refuses, but Gulesian initiates a public campaign which begins from Boston and ultimately “spilled all over the country.”
  • In 1906, a storm of protest from the public prompts Congress to authorize US$100,000 for the ship’s restoration. First to be removed was the barracks structure on her spar deck, but the limited amount of funds allowed just a partial restoration.
  • By 1907, Constitution begins to serve as a museum ship, with tours offered to the public.
  • On December 1, 1917, she is renamed Old Constitution to free her name for a planned, new Lexington-class battle cruiser.
  • On July 24, 1925, Old Constitution was granted the return of her name after construction of the lead ship of the class the name Constitution was originally destined for got canceled in 1923 due to the Washington Naval Treaty and the incomplete hull was sold for scrap.
  • On February 19, 1924, inspection of her condition by the Board of Inspection and Survey, ordered by Adm. Edward Walter Eberle, Chief of Naval Operations, found her in grave condition.
  • On June 16, 1927, Constitution enters dry dock with a crowd of 10,000 observers.
  • On March 15, 1930, she emerges from dry dock with approximately 85% of the ship “renewed” (i.e. replaced) to make her seaworthy.
  • On July 1, 1931, Constitution is recommissioned under the command of Louis J. Gulliver with a crew of 60 officers and sailors, 15 Marines, and a pet monkey named Rosie that was their mascot.
  • On May 1934, after more than 4.6 million people visited her during the 3-year tour, Constitution returns to her home port of Boston, serving as a museum ship and receiving 100,000 visitors per year.
  • On September 21, 1938, during the New England Hurricane, Constitution breaks loose from her dock and is blown into Boston Harbor where she collides with the destroyer Ralph Talbot. She only suffers minor damage.
  • In 1940, at the request of Pres. Franklin Roosevelt, USS Constellation  and  Constitution  were recommissioned.
  • In early 1941, Constitution is assigned the hull classification symbol IX-21 and begins to serve as a brig for officers awaiting court-martial.
  • In 1947, The United States Postal Service issues a stamp commemorating Constitution
  • In the 1950s, reliable heating for the small maintenance crew who were berthed on the ship was upgraded to a forced-air system and a sprinkler system was added to protect her from fire.
  • In 1954, an Act of Congress makes the Secretary of the Navy responsible for her upkeep.
  • In 1960, Constitution is designated as a U.S. National Historic Landmark.
  • On October 15, 1966, the Constitution is included in the U.S. National Register of Historic Places (NRHP)
  • In 1972, funds were approved for her restoration
  • In April 1973, she enters dry dock remaining until April 1974.
  • In August 1974, as preparations begin for the upcoming United States Bicentennial celebrations. Cmdr. Tyrone G. Martin, who sets the precedent that all construction work on Constitution was to be aimed towards maintaining her to the 1812 configuration for which she is most noted, becomes her captain.
  • In September 1975, her hull classification of IX-21 was officially canceled.
  • On April 8, 1976, the privately run USS Constitution Museum is opened
  • On July 10, 1976, Constitution leads the parade of tall ships up Boston Harbor for Operation Sail, firing her guns at one-minute intervals for the first time in approximately 100 years.
  • On July 11, 1976, she renders a 21-gun salute to Her Majesty’s Yacht Britannia, as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip arrived for a state visit. The royal couple, with Cmdr. Martin and J. William Middendorf (Secretary of the Navy), were piped aboard, privately touring the ship for approximately 30 minutes. Upon their departure, the crew of Constitution rendered three cheers for the Queen.
  • In 1992, Constitution enters dry dock for an inspection and minor repair period, her most comprehensive structural restoration and repair since she was launched in 1797.
  • In 1995, after a US$12 million restoration, she emerges from dry dock.
  • On July 20, 1995, Constitutionwas towed from her usual berth in Boston to an overnight mooring in Marblehead, Massachusetts. En route, she made her first sail in 116 years at a recorded 6 knots (11 kms./hr.; 6.9 mph).
  • On July 21, 1995, she is towed 5 nautical miles (9.3 kms.; 5.8 mi) offshore, where the tow line is dropped and Cmdr. Beck orders 6 sails set (jibs, topsails, and spanker). She then sails for 40 minutes on a south-south-east course with true wind speeds of about 12 knots (22 kms./hr.; 14 mph), attaining a top recorded speed of 4 knots (7.4 kms./hrs.; 4.6 mph). While she is under sail, the guided missile destroyer Ramage and frigate Halyburton, her modern US naval combatant escorts, render passing honors to “Old Ironsides” and she is overflown by the Blue Angels, the US Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron. Inbound to her permanent berth at Charlestown, off Fort Independence in Boston Harbor, she is rendered a 21-gun salute to the nation.
  • In November 2007, Lt.-Cmdr. John Scivier of the Royal Navy, commanding officer of HMS Victory, paid a visit to Constitution, touring the local facilities with Cmdr. William A. Bullard III. They discussed arranging an exchange program between the two ships.
  • In November 2010, Constitution emerges from a three-year repair period.
  • On August 19, 2012, the anniversary of her victory over Guerriere, the crew of Constitution, under Cmdr. Matt Bonner (Constitution’s 72nd commanding officer), sails Constitution under her own power.
  • On May 18, 2015, the ship enters Dry Dock 1 in Charlestown Navy Yard  to begin a scheduled 2-year restoration program restore the copper sheets on the ship’s hull and replace additional deck boards.  The Department of the Navy provided the US$12–15 million expected cost.
  • In August 2015, Cmdr. Robert S. Gerosa Jr. (her 74th and current commanding officer) assumes command of Constitution.
  • On July 23, 2017, after the restoration was complete, she was returned to the water.

The Captain’s Cabin

Here are the general characteristics of the Constitution:

  • Tonnage: 1,576
  • Displacement: 2,200 tons
  • Length: 93 m. (304 ft.), bowsprit to spanker; 63 m. (207 ft.), billet head to taffrail; 53 m. (175 ft.) at waterline
  • Beam: 26 m. (43 ft. 6 in.)
  • Height: 60 m. (198 ft.), foremast; 67 m. (220 ft.), mainmast; 52.6 m. (172.5 ft.), mizzenmast.
  • Draft: 6.4 m. (21 ft.), forward; 7.0 m. (23 ft.), aft
  • Depth of Hold: 4.34 m. (14 ft. 3 in.)
  • Decks: OrlopBerthGunSpar
  • Propulsion: Sail (three masts, ship rig)
  • Sail plan: 3,968 m2 (42,710 sq. ft.) on three masts
  • Speed: 24 kms./hr. (13 knots, 15 mph)
  • Boats and landing: 1 × 11 m. (36 ft.) longboat, 2 × 9.1 m. (30 ft.) cutters
  • Craft carried: 2 × 8.5 m. (28 ft.) whaleboats, 1 × 8.5 m. (28 ft.) gig, 1 × 6.7 m. (22 ft.) jolly boat, 1 × 4.3 m. (14 ft.) punt
  • Complement: 450 including 55 Marines and 30 boys (1797)
  • Armament: 30 × 24-pounder(11 kgs.) long gun, 20 × 32-pounder (15 kgs.) carronade, 2 × 24-pounder (11 kgs.) bow chasers[2]

The author emerging from the lower deck

USS Constitution: Building 5, Charlestown Navy Yard,BostonMassachusetts 02129, USA.  Tel: +1 617-799-8198. Open Wednesdays to Sundays, 10AM – 4PM. The ship is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.  Admission: free. Website:  www.navy.mil/local/constitution. Note that all guests aged 18 and older must show a state-issued photo ID (like a driver’s license or passport) at security to board the ship. Guests under age 18 do not require an ID.

How to Get There: The GPS address is 1 Constitution Road, Charlestown. You can drive and park in the Nautica Parking Garage across from the Naval Yard Visitor Center or take the Green Line (to North Station) or Orange Line (to Bunker Hill Community College). MBTA Water Shuttle Route F4 (Long Wharf, Boston to Charlestown Navy Yard, Charlestown)

USS Cassin Young (Boston, Massachusetts, USA)

The author in front of the USS Cassin Young

The USS Cassin Young (DD-793), a Fletcher-class destroyer of the U.S. Navy, is preserved today as a memorial ship, berthed at Boston Navy Yard in Massachusetts, across from the old warship USS Constitution. Visiting this ship seemed like an afterthought before or after seeing the USS Constitution and this ship doesn’t have the historical weight “Old Ironsides.” Still, it had a storied World War II history and it was fun to walk around the well-maintained US Navy destroyer as they have lots of rooms open on the main deck to look in or walk around in. Cassin Young served in World War II (participating in the Battle of Leyte Gulf and the Battle of Okinawa), was decommissioned, but was reactivated during the Korean War and continued in active service until 1960.

Check out “USS Constitution – Old Ironsides

Gangplank leading to the ship’s top deck

Here are some interesting trivia regarding the ship:

National Historic Landmark Plaque

Here’s the historical timeline of the ship:

  • On March 18 1943, the keel of the Cassin Young was laid down byBethlehem SteelSan Pedro, California.
  • On September 12, 1943, the Cassin Young was launched.
  • Sponsored by Mrs. Eleanor Young (widow of her namesake); she was commissioned on December 31, 1943 with Commander T. Schrieber in command.
  • On March 19, 1944, Cassin Young arrived at Pearl Harbor to complete her training before sailing on to Manus, where she joined the massive Fast Carrier Task Force (then called TF 58, at other times called TF 38, depending on whether the overall organization was called 5th Fleet or 3rd Fleet).
  • On April, 28, 1944, TF 58 sortied for air attacks on Japanese strongholds at TrukWoleaiSatawan and Ponape in the Caroline Islands, during which Cassin Young operated as a picket ship, assigned to warn her group of possible enemy counterattack. She returned to Majuro, and then Pearl Harbor for further training.
  • On June 11, 1944, Cassin Young reported to Eniwetok to join the screen of escort carriers assigned to covering duty in the invasion of Saipan four days later. In addition to radar picket and screening duty, she was also called upon for inshore fire support. As the battle for Saipan raged ashore, escort carriers of Cassin Young‘s group launched attacks on the island, as well as sorties to neutralize enemy air fields on TinianRota, and Guam. Similar operations supporting the subsequent assaults on Tinian and Guam claimed the services of Cassin Young.
  • On August, 13, 1944, she returned to Eniwetok to replenish.
  • On August 29, 1944, Cassin Young guards the carriers of Task Group 38.3, which included several aircraft carriers, as strikes were flown from their decks to hit targets on PalauMindanao, and Luzon in support of the assault on the Palaus, stepping-stone to the Philippines.
  • On October 2, 1944, she returns to Ulithi, Caroline Islands
  • On October 6, 1944, Cassin Young sails with the same force on duty in the accelerated schedule for the Philippines assault. First on the schedule were air strikes on Okinawa, Luzon, and Formosa.
  • From October 10 to 13, 1944, during the furious Formosa Air Battle, the Japanese tried to destroy the carrier strength of the imposing TF 38.
  • On October, 14, 1944, the cruiser Reno was struck by a Kamikaze, wounding five of Cassin Young‘s men with machine gun fire. During this attack, Cassin Young aided in shooting down several aircraft.
  • On October 18, 1944, TF 38 took position east of Luzon to launch strikes immobilizing enemy air fields there in preparation for the assault on Leyte two days later.
  • On October 23, 1944, after standing by to render support if called upon during the initial landings, Cassin Young‘s group began to search for the enemy forces known to be moving toward Leyte Gulf
  • On October, 24, 1944,during the most vigorous and successful air attack mounted by the Japanese during the Leyte operation, Cassin Young moved in toward San Bernardino Strait, ready to launch strikes. At 09:38, an enemy bomb struck the aircraft carrier Princeton, and Cassin Young rescued over 120 men from the carrier before that ship sank, then rejoined TG 38.3 for the dash northward to attack the Japanese Northern Force.
  • On October 25, 1944, a series of air strikes during the Battle off Cape Engaño resulted in the sinking of four Japanese carriers and a destroyer. As her carriers continued to range widely, striking at enemy bases on Okinawa, Formosa, and Luzon, Cassin Young continued operations in support of the Leyte conquest.
  • On October 31, 1944, Cmdr. John Ailes III takes over command of the Cassin Young.
  • Through January 1945, with Ulithi as her base, the destroyer screened carriers as their aircraft pounded away at Formosa, Luzon, Cam Ranh Bay (Vietnam), Hong KongCanton and the Nansei Shoto in their support for the assault on Luzon.
  • After a brief overhaul at Ulithi, Cassin Young joined operations supporting the invasion of Iwo Jima with air strikes on Honshū and Okinawa, the bombardment of Parece Vela, and screening off Iwo Jima itself in support of Marine operations during the initial assault on February 19, 1945.
  • On March 22, 1945, after another brief respite at Ulithi, she sailed for her deployment for the Okinawa operation. After screening heavy ships in the massive pre-invasion bombardment, Cassin Young helped “soften up” Okinawa for the upcoming assault on that island, and moving inshore to support the activities of underwater demolition teams preparing the beaches.
  • On April 1, 1945, the destroyer escorted assault craft to the beaches, providing shore bombardment in the assault areas, then took up radar picket duty, providing early warning of impending air attacks to the main fleet, possibly the most hazardous duty performed by any warship during World War II. In the weeks and months ahead, the ships assigned to the 15 picket stations bore the brunt of over 1,500 Kamikaze attacks which the Japanese gambled on in defeating the Okinawa operation. Radar Picket (RP) Stations 1,2 and 3 faced the worst of these attacks.
  • On April, 6, 1945, Cassin Young, on duty at RP Station 3, endured her first Kamikaze attacks as the Japanese launched the first of 10 massed attacks, sending 355 Kamikazes and 341 bombers towards Okinawa.  The ship downed three “bogeys” (enemy planes) and picked up survivors from the nearby destroyers assigned to RP Stations 1 and 2 (both were hit and sunk by Kamikazes).
  • On April, 12, 1945, a massive wave of Kamikazes came in at midday. Cassin Young was then assigned to RP Station 1. Her accurate gunfire had aided in shooting down 5 aircraft, but a sixth crashed high-up into her foremast, exploding in midair only 15 m. (50 ft.) from the ship. Surprisingly only one man was killed but 58 were wounded, many of them seriously. Cassin Young, although damaged, made Kerama Retto under her own power.
  • On May, 31, 1945, after repairs at Kerama Retto and at Ulithi, she returned to Okinawa and resumed radar picket duty.
  • As the Kamikaze attacks continued, Cassin Young had respite only during two brief convoy escort voyages to the Marianas.
  • On July, 28, 1945, her group was again a prime target for the Japanese, with one destroyer sunk and another badly damaged by Kamikazes. During the engagement, Cassin Young assisted in shooting down two enemy aircraft, then rescued 125 survivors from the sunken USS Callaghan.
  • At 3:26 AM on July 29, 1945, just 16 days before Japan surrendered, Cassin Young was struck for the second time, when a low-flying aircraft hit her starboard side of the main deck, near the forward smoke stack, striking her fire control room. A tremendous explosion amidships was followed by fire and the ship lay dead in the water. However, the crew managed contained the damage, restore power to one engine, get the flames under control, and had the ship underway for the safety of Kerama Retto within 20 minutes. Casualties were 22 men dead and 45 wounded.  For her determined service and gallantry in the Okinawa radar picket line she was awarded the Navy Unit Commendation.
  • On August 8, 1945, Cassin Young cleared Okinawa  and headed home for repairs. Arriving home in San Pedro, California, she was fully repaired.
  • On August 29, 1945, Lt.-Cmdr. Carl Pfeifer takes over command of the ship.
  • On May 28, 1946, she was decommissioned and placed the reserve or “mothball” fleet in San Diego.
  • On September 8, 1951, with the outbreak of the Korean Conflict, many destroyers were recalled to service and Cassin Young was recommissioned at Long Beach Naval Shipyard.
  • On January 4, 1952, she cleared San Diego for her new home port, Newport, Rhode Island.
  • In September 1952 she entered Dry Dock #1 in the Charlestown Facility, Boston Navy Yard (beginning her association with this navy yard) for the first of four major overhauls she would undergo in this shipyard. At this time the ship was updated to its current configuration. Two Hedgehog anti-submarine warfare (ASW) launchers and two torpedo carriages for the Mark 32 torpedo were added, with one 21 inch (533 mm.) quintuple torpedo tube mount removed. Also, four 40 mm. Bofors twin mounts were replaced by two quadruple mounts. The forward pole mast was replaced by a tripod mast to accommodate improved radar and electronics systems.
  • On November 21, 1952, Cmdr. Thomas Rudden, Jr. takes over command of the Cassin Young.
  • From May 7 to June 12, 1953, local operations and refresher training in the Caribbean preceded a period of antisubmarine exercises off Florida.
  • From September 16 to November 30, 1953, she had her first tour of duty with the 6th Fleet, initially serving in Atlantic and Mediterranean waters.
  • On May 3, 1954, after another period of local operations and exercises in the Caribbean Sea early in 1954, she cleared Newport for a round-the-world cruise, which included exercises with the 7th Fleet in the western Pacific, patrols off Korea, and good-will visits to Far Eastern and Mediterranean ports.
  • On November 28, 1954, she returned to Newport.
  • On August 17, 1956, Cmdr. Clifton Cates, Jr. takes over command of the Cassin Young.
  • On September 14, 1958, Cmdr. John Hooper takes over as commanding officer of the ship.
  • In 1959, Cassin Young was awarded the Battle Efficiency “E” for overall excellent performances in all exercises that year.
  • From 1954 until 1960, her operations included training exercises in the Caribbean and off the eastern Atlantic seaboard as well as four tours of duty in the Mediterranean in 1956, winter 1956-57, and 1959, and a round of visits to ports of northern Europe in 1958. During those years, the ship returned to the Boston Naval Shipyard five more times for overhauls to keep ahead of the unavoidable problem of old age.
  • On February 6, 1960, she arrived at Norfolk Naval Shipyard to be decommissioned because, during that last overseas deployment, an issue was discovered with her rudder that put her into dry dock in France. At that point the repair costs outweighed retaining the aging ship.
  • On April 29, 1960, Cassin Young was put into long-term storage at the PhiladelphiaNaval Inactive Ship Maintenance Facility.
  • On December 1, 1974, she was struck from the Naval Vessel Register. The US Navy has permanently loaned Cassin Young to the National Park Service, to be preserved as a floating memorial ship berthed at the Boston Navy Yard, part of the Boston National Historical Park (BNHP) in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • On June 15, 1978, Cassin Young arrived at Boston Navy Yard
  • In 1981, Cassin Young was opened to the public.
  • In 1986, she was designated as a National Historic Landmark
  • In late July 2010, Cassin Young closed to the public in preparation for dry-docking.
  • On August 9, 2010, she was moved into Historic Dry Dock #1 in BNHP for the first time in 30 years for some much needed repairs to her hull.
  • On September 4, 2012, the ship was closed to the public to allow contractors to make final repairs to the hull.
  • On May 14, 2013, she returned to her position at Pier 1.
  • On June 4, 2013, she was moved to the Boston Harbor Shipyard and Marina in East Boston while repairs were made to her berth in Charlestown.
  • By September 2013, she had returned to her museum berth.

Jandy in front of a Mark 12 5-inch, 38 caliber gun

Quad-mount 40-mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns

Twin-mount 40-mm. Bofors anti-aircraft guns

Depth charge track

Hedgehog ASW Mortar

Mark 32 torpedo

Here are some specifications of this ship:

  • Displacement :2,050 tons (2,924 full)
  • Length: 114.7 m. (376.4 ft.)
  • Beam: 12.1 m. (39.6 ft.)
  • Draft: 4.2 m. (13.8 ft.)
  • Propulsion: 4 oil-fired boilers, 2 General Electric gearedsteam turbines, 2 shafts, 45,000 kW (60,000 shp)
  • Speed: 67.6 kms./hr. (36.5 knots, 42.0 mph)
  • Range: 12,000 kms. (6,500 nautical miles); 7,500 mile at 15 knots (28 kms/hr.; 17 mph)
  • Complement: 325
  • Armament (as built): 5 x 5 in (127 mm)/38 caliber guns, 5 x twin 40 mm AA guns, 7 x 20 mm AA guns, 2 x quintuple 21 inch (533 mm) torpedo tubes, 6 x K-gun depth charge throwers, 2 x depth charge tracks
  • Armanent (as preserved): 5 x 5 in (127 mm)/38 caliber guns, 2 x quad 40 mm AA guns, 1 x twin 40 mm AA guns, 1 x quintuple 21 in (533 mm) torpedo tubes, 2 x torpedo carriages for the Mark 32 torpedo, 2 x Hedgehog ASW mortar, 1 x depth charge track

Captain’s In Port Cabin

Combat Information Center (CIC)

Officers Wardroom

Radio Room

Sick Bay

USS Cassin Young: 198 3rd St., Pier 1, Charlestown Navy Yard, Boston, Massachusetts 02129.  Tel: (617) 242-5601.  Admission is free. Free 45-min. guided tours, by a Park Ranger, takes you to the galleys, mess, officers’ quarters, engine room, gun/battery, captain’s cabin, the bridge and the crew quarters, all parts of the ship not accessible without a guide.