Submarine Force Museum – Groton, Connecticut - Atlas Obscura
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Groton, Connecticut

Submarine Force Museum

The US Navy's only submarine museum is also home to the world's first nuclear submarine. 

After its beginnings as the world’s largest submarine library, the Submarine Force Museum now also holds countless pieces of sub-maritime history. 

Located on Connecticut’s Thames River the US Navy’s official repository of submarine history covers a number of exhibit halls, research areas and even a real-life nuclear submarine. The museum contains over 33,000 artifacts, 30,000 photographs, and over 20,000 historically important documents for visitors or researchers to view. With such a rich collection, the exhibits on display at the site are constantly in flux. However the one exhibit which does not change is the decommissioned sub, the Nautilus.  

The Nautilus was the first nuclear-powered submarine which instantly made it one of the fastest and most powerful underwater vessels in history to that point. The ship took part in missions and exercises varying from military actions to traveling to the North Pole, over its 25 year career. After having travelled over half a million miles, the Nautilus was permanently parked next to the Submarine Force Museum in 1986.

Now visitors can actually enter the Nautilus and experience a bit of what it was like to serve on a cramped, but powerful nuclear submarine. Whether for research or just to marvel at man’s conquest of the oceans, the Submarine Force Museum won’t leave anyone high and dry.  

Know Before You Go

From I-95 take exit 86 (Sub base exit) and follow the signs to the museum