Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Can the Submarine Force Museum provide me with an appraisal of the financial value of my submarine related artifact or archival material?

Answer: The Submarine Force Library and Museum is unable to provide appraisals of the monetary value of manuscripts offered as gifts, brought in for identification, or submitted for any other purpose. Material given to archives and libraries may have tax benefits for the donor. In an effort to foster goodwill with donors and acquire important collections, libraries and archives may be tempted or feel pressured by the donor to provide an artificially inflated appraisal. The Internal Revenue Service, therefore, regards archives and libraries as interested parties, and appraisals prepared by them for gifts that they receive are subject to question. Consequently, the Association of College and Research Libraries recommends that "to protect both its donors and itself, the library, as an interested party, ordinarily should not appraise gifts made to it." Most libraries and archives now follow this policy on appraisals.

Question: I am a model builder. Do you have photos or drawings that could help me build an accurate model?

Answer: Anyone interested in building submarine models should begin by checking out the SubCommittee web site: www.subcommittee.com. The SubCommittee is an organization of submarine model builders, and they have accumulated a wealth of modeling knowledge over the years. There web site contains Frequently asked Questions, a submarine photo gallery, message board for posting questions, and a comprehensive list of vendors that sell submarine related merchandise including model plans.

Question: Where can I get a photograph of the USS GATO, etc?

Answer: There are several institutions that hold large collections of photography of U.S. Navy subjects. Five major ones are briefly discussed here. Four are agencies of the U.S. government, and one is a private organization.

  • The Submarine Force Library and Museum's photographic section has a very large collection that is the best source of Navy photography pertaining to submarines.
  • The Naval Historical Center's photographic section has a very large collection that is the best source of Navy photography predating the 1920s. In addition, its collections include supplemental coverage for later dates.
  • The National Archives' Still Picture Branch (301-837-3530) holds the official U.S. Navy photo collection predating 1982, and is generally the most complete source of Navy photographs from the 1920s through 1982.
  • The Department of Defense Visual Information Center, formerly called the DOD Still Media Records Center, holds the official U.S. Navy photo collection from 1982 to the present.
  • The privately operated U.S. Naval Institute has an extensive collection of Navy photographs from all eras. Their address is:
    Photo Service, U.S. Naval Institute
    291 Wood Road Annapolis, MD 21402-5035
    FAX: 410-269-7940
    (410) 269 295-1022

In contacting these institutions, you should keep in mind than none of them can support general requests or requests for more than three or four specific subjects at a time.

Question: When is the Museum closed?

Answer: ALL Tuesdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day.

The Museum is also closed for a week in the spring and fall, for routine maintenance (the ship is closed an additional week). Please call for specifics.

Question: Is there an admission charge?

Answer: No. The museum and parking are free.

Question: Do I need a reservation?

Answer: Reservations are not required however, the museum asks groups of 25 or more to call ahead and let us know when you plan to visit.

Question: How far in advance should I call?

Answer: Two weeks notice will help the museum staff better schedule your visit.

Question: Do you offer guided tours of the NAUTILUS?

Answer: No, the NAUTILUS is self-guided. On board the submarine, you will be given an audio wand that describes the things you are seeing.

Question: How long on average does it take to tour the NAUTILUS and Museum?

Answer: We generally tell people to allow about an hour to an hour and one half to tour the entire museum including Nautilus.

Question: Is the Nautilus appropriate for small children? 

Answer: Yes, but there is no stroller access on the Nautilus itself, so you would either have to carry them or they would have to walk for a short period of time.

Question: Will my child like the Nautilus and Museum? 

Answer: If your child likes submarines then they would enjoy visiting the Nautilus and museum. 

Question: Can you accommodate an R/V? 

Answer: Yes, we have several R/V spaces available.

Question: Who do I call, and what’s the number?

Answer: Please call the museum secretary at (860) 694-3558.

Question: Where should the bus drop off and pick-up the students?

Answer: The bus should drop students off directly in front of the large metal ring (very prominent). Students should not cross parking lot traffic to enter the museum. This will help ensure student safety.

Question: What should students do with their coats?

Answer: There is no coatroom in the Museum. Students may either leave them on the bus or wear them in the Museum.

Question: Does the Museum have guides?

Answer: No. The Museum is self-guided, but there are Volunteer Docents in the museum that can help answer questions that you may have while you are visiting.

Question: Is there a classroom?

Answer: Yes. It is located on the second floor of the museum.

Question: Where are the bathrooms?

Answer: You will find them just inside the entrance to the right.

Question: Is there food in the Museum?

Answer: No food or drink are allowed in the museum.

There are limited vending services onsite. Summer 2009 we opened our "90 North Café" at the north end of the parking lot. It is open for food seasonally Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Feel free to bring your own picnic lunch and enjoy a picnic in our picnic area on the scenic Thames River.

Question: Where may students eat?

Answer: At the far end of our parking lot there is a picnic area where they can eat.

Question: Are there restaurants nearby?

Answer: Yes. In addition to our "90 North Café" (open seasonal), you will find a number of fast food restaurants approximately three miles south of the Museum on Long Hill Road (Route 12). There is also a fast food restaurant three miles north in Gales Ferry.

Question: Is there a gift shop?

Answer: Yes. It sells inexpensive souvenirs and items related to submarine history.

Question: Is the Museum handicapped accessible?

Answer: Yes. There are handicapped restroom facilities and an elevator to the second floor.

Due to constructions features of the USS NAUTILUS, visitors with certain physical limitation may not be able to tour the ship. Please call the museum secretary at (860) 694-3558 if you have any questions.

Question: Are pets allowed on site?

Answer: Only service animals are allowed in the museum.

Question: Can you climb the rocks near the museum?

Answer: No, please do not permit this. It is dangerous and also poses a security violation of the Naval Submarine Base.