Submarine Force Museum Home of Historic Ship Nautilus
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The Submarine Force Library & Museum Association
Originally established as "The Submarine Library" by the Electric Boat Division of General Dynamics Corporation in 1955, the Library gained respect for its considerable archival and research value. In April 1964, Electric Boat Division donated the entirety of its historical submarine library holdings to the Navy and relocated it to the Submarine Base New London, in Groton, Connecticut. The name "Submarine Force Library and Museum" was formally adopted in 1969. The Submarine Force Library and Museum Association Inc. (SFLMA) was formed as a non-profit, tax-exempt, organization and incorporated in 1972 to achieve the educational and charitable purposes enumerated in its Certificate of Incorporation.
In the early 1980's, the idea of returning USS NAUTILUS SSN 571, the world's first nuclear propelled submarine, to Groton, Connecticut, began to take shape. The SFLMA Executive Board recognized the significant advantages that would accrue to co-locating the Library and Museum with this historic ship and in 1984, the CONNECTICUT NAUTILUS COMMITTEE was formed to raise funds to bring this idea to fruition. The committee was successful in achieving the design, construction and outfitting of a 14,000 square foot facility on the banks of the Thames River in Groton and received funding from the State of Connecticut and individual and corporate sources. This new facility opened in April 1986.
The banner that adorned the bow of NAUTILUS when she was launched on January 21, 1954 has been donated to the museum. The banner, which can be seen in the attached launch photo measures approximately four feet wide by thirty feet long and consists of a blue field containing thirteen stars and then five alternating red and white stripes. The banner will be displayed in the museum after it has been preserved.
In late 1997 the Association undertook the task of building a much needed 13,465 square foot addition to the current museum, which had not received any major improvements since its opening. In mid 1998 the Association launched Campaign 2000 to raise $4 million in funds to expand and improve the Submarine Force Library and Museum. Building of the new addition commenced in late 1998, was completed in early 2000 and was officially opened to the public on 28 April 2000 in conjunction with the Centennial Celebration of the United States Submarine Force.
The Library and Museum's current collection ranges from submarine pioneer John Holland's notes and calculations for the Navy's first submarine to the many one-of-a-kind artifacts from World War I and World War II, to the combined Navy and Electric Boat Corporation's private submarine library collection, to the story of the United States Submarine Force technical and operational developments throughout the Cold War.
Museum admission is free. All profits from Association membership and the Museum Store go to supporting the work of the Museum including new accessions, exhibit upgrades and Museum enhancements.