Patriots Point Naval And Maritime Museum
When you arrive at Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum, one of the first things youll notice is the aircraft carrier, the USS Yorktown. Its pretty hard to miss. Youll also get to see the destroyer, USS Laffey, and the submarine, USS Clamagore. The museum and exhibits are set up inside the aircraft carrier. Before you embark on the long path to the aircraft carrier, you can visit a gift shop. We saved it for last because it was raining off and on, and we happened to catch a moment of dryness.
Its also interesting to note that ferries to Fort Sumter leave from Patriots Point, as well. These are not affiliated with the museum, but taking the ferry to Fort Sumter is an option from this side of the harbor.
Heres a couple of other things about the museumyou can sleep on the aircraft carrier, and they also offer ghost tours . We love a good ghost tour, so when we make it back, we may have to give this a try.
How Long Will You Spend At Patriots Point
Patriots Point features three Navy vessels to explore and the USS Yorktown has six guided tours alone so it will take a while to explore the complex even if you only do a cursory walkthrough.
I recommend first-time visitors plan to spend the day at least eight hours. There is a café on the USS Yorktown serving café-style food, and there are plenty of places to take a break from walking and standing.
If you only have a few hours, I recommend doing one or two of the self-guided walking tours on the USS Yorktown, the Medal of Honor Museum on the aircraft carrier, and a walkthrough of the Vietnam War Experience.
More History To Take In
Engage further with Charlestons military history by exploring PPNMMs four other components, without having to get in your car and drive to them.
Medal of Honor Museum: Here, interactive exhibits pay tribute to American heroes whove received the Medal of Honor, from the Civil War through the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan. Its home to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, as well the countrys highest award for military valor. Read stories surrounding the history of the Medal of Honor, and see lists of all the recipients in our nations history. Youll find the museum just inside the entrance to Yorktown, to the left of the front desk.
USS Laffey: See the most decorated World War II-era U.S. destroyer still in existence, berthed in front of the Yorktown. The 376-foot-long ship supported the Allied invasion of Normandy in June 1944 and served throughout World War II and the Korean War before being retired in 1975.
USS Clamagore: Step down into the only preserved GUPPY III submarine in the country, which served for 30 years during the Cold War. Measuring 322 feet long, it came to rest just south of the Yorktown in 1981 after its decommissioning. It has been closed to the public since Spring 2020 but will reopen to visitors in June. Not for the claustrophobic or mobility impaired.
Plan Your Trip
Location: 40 Patriots Point Road, Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Visit: Daily from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
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Winding In And Out Through The Passages Of The Uss Yorktown
Once wed explored outside, we headed back in to see what life was like inside the aircraft carrier.
Kristin liked this part best because it feels like youre part of the crew.
The galley area is fun.
The displays help you imagine what life was really like for the people stationed here.
When we explored the galley and the bunk areas, we were essentially alone. It felt a little eery to think no one else was around on this big ship.
Other people were exploring, but we didnt see them much. The rain probably kept the crowds away. Still, it was nice to have a lot of the areas to ourselves.
Uss Clamagore At Patriots Point
Sadly USS Clamagore is unlikely to be as lucky.
USS Clamagore SS-343 is a 322ft Balao-class submarine, a National Historic Landmark and the last surviving GUPPY submarine IE she was equipped with a snorkel.
The problem is, over the almost four decades she has been on display, she has been slowly deteriorating to the point at which something serious, and expensive , has to be done to keep her afloat. They want to keep her, but their priority is Laffey & Yorktown. Last month the state government agreed to lift a veto on spending the $2.xm needed to scuttle her, so pending any last minute surprise reprieve, it looks as if shell be taking her final dive soon.
To be honest, I had seen photographs of her shocking condition and it hadnt occurred to me that visitors could still go on board. I was rather surprised to discover that I could have gone onboard, but I didnt have time, and now I rather wish I had. It looks like that was my last chance.
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Vietnam Experience At Patriots Point
The 3-acre Vietnam Experience is something a bit specialand not because it is in no danger of sinking!
Basically they have re-created typical US military installations A brown water Navy support base. A Marine fire artillery base from the Vietnam war and filled them with authentic pieces of equipment from Quonset huts, to ambulances, field artillery, a number of helicopters and a river patrol boat.
There are explanations of what you are looking at, and personal stories from soldiers who served there. Theres an interesting exhibition on the little-known indigenous native Montagnard fighters from the central mountain region who fought alongside the US Special Forces.
Medivac UH-1H Iroquois
Kaiser Jeep M725 Ambulance
The Vietnam Experience Exhibit
Become part of the crew, as Patriots Point brings the history of the Vietnam War to life in this fully immersive 2 ½ acre exhibit that brings Marine officers to life through holograms in an exciting 3-D production.Set in a “Brown Water Navy” support base and a U.S. Marine Corps artillery fire base during the Tet Offensive and the Battle of Khe Sanh in 1968.Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum provides free tickets to the Ralph A. Johnson Veteran Affairs Medical Center in Charleston, SC for PTSD treatment for combat veterans in the Vietnam Experience.
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Tips For The Best Experience At Patriots Point
There is a lot to see and do at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, and its almost impossible to do it all with just one visit. Here are a few tips to make the most of your visit and give you the best experience.
- Arrive early and avoid holidays as they tend to be overwhelmingly busy.
- Wear closed-toed shoes. Youll be walking up and down very steep metal staircases on the ships, and any other type of footwear could lead to injury.
- This is not a rainy day activity. Although portions of the tours are inside the ships, youll spend a great deal outside getting there, to begin with.
- Bring your own food and have a picnic! There are a couple of tables at the edge of the parking lot.
- Food is not allowed on the ships, but you can bring your own water, and I highly recommend it. Air conditioning is not available on the self-guided tours, and the ships bowels tend to get hot in the summer months.
- Visit the USS Yorktown first since that is where youll spend most of your time.
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Uss Clamagore Cold War Submarine
The USS Clamagore has a long very long history. Commissioned in 1945, the submarine served during the Cold War era when American and Soviet submarines patrolled the worlds oceans.
In 1975, the submarine was retired without ever serving in combat. Six years later, it sailed to Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum.
The self-guided tour on the USS Clamagore is the shortest and most difficult at Patriots Point. The passages are extremely narrow and hatches quite small. Standing at 61, I actually found it difficult ducking through the hatches between each compartment throughout the submarine. Difficult, but not impossible.
The two largest compartments I found on the submarine were the mess hall four tables with swivel chairs attached and the torpedo room. Space was at a premium, and it was fascinating to see just how they utilized every cubic inch for storage, machinery, and living space.
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Admission Costs To Patriots Point
If youre a solo traveler like me, admission to Patriots Point is not bad at all. However, if you have a small family of four or five, admission can start to cost a bit.
Single-day admission to Patriots Point starts at $24 for adults, $16 for children ages 6-11, and $19 for seniors over 62. There are other packages and options for admission, but this is the base price. I think the admission price is well worth it, considering the sheer amount of awesome things to see and do once you enter the gate.
The Fighting Lady Caf
The Fighting Lady Café serves lunch Monday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. seasonally. Menu options include appetizers, sandwiches, salads, barbecue platters and desserts. Located in the original CPO Galley, the cafe is climate controlled and offers table-side service. * Hours of operation modified seasonally.
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Patriots Point Adjusting To Seasonal Hours
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. – Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum will operate under an adjusted seasonal schedule starting Monday.
The museum says they will now operate from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends. As of last Tuesday, the museum says the guided Captains Tour will be offered Friday through Sunday.
Museum officials say local food trucks will continue to visit Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum this fall, offering savory and sweet options daily for lunch.
Patriots Point is also preparing to relaunch the overnight program. The museum says groups will learn what it means to live like a sailor and sleep in the same berthing areas as the crews who served onboard the USS Yorktown in 1940s and after. Patriots Point will announce soon when groups can begin booking overnight stays.
Patriots Point partnered with the 9/11 Silent Walk to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. The remembrance ceremony took place on the flight deck of the USS Yorktown.
The Patriots Point Museum
Patriots Point is a state agency run by the Patriots Point Development Authority. The South Carolina government owns 460 acres of land at Patriots Point and the Patriots Point Development Authority leases much of it to the neighbouring hotels and golf course, which generates revenue for the museum. The rest of their income comes from ticket sales.
Some of that cash gets spent on the 16 full time staff and 60-70 part-time staff , but the lions share is spent preserving the ships. They require a lot of maintenance because they are all wet-berthed in tidal saltwater, and they have been there for many years.
The museum has four primary exhibits
- The USS Yorktown, aircraft carrier
- The USS Laffey, destroyer
SH 3G Sea King
The most up-to-date jet on the flight deck an F-18 A Hornet
And who could not love the Grumman A6 Intruder the unsung reliable all-weather hero of naval aviation in the Cold War era. Although the version I would love to have seen is the Electronic Warfare version, the EA6 Prowler.
Down below in the hanger there are some more cool aircraft. The US Navy Corsair, Wildcat and Hellcat fighters were also flown by the Royal Navy Fleet Air Arm, so you can see examples of those over on this side of the Atlantic, but I cant recall seeing a Douglas A1 Skyraider up close, nor a Douglas Dauntless dive bomber the aircraft that had such a devastating impact on the Japanese carriers at Midway.
Squadron Ready Room
Catapult room cartoon
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Warplanes And Radar Equipment
Exiting the focsle deck and ascending several levels of the ship through the crews berthing area, the tour takes you up to the flight deck and 10 of the most significant aircraft in U.S. carrier aviation history, including the AD-4N Skyraider, F4F Wildcat, F6F Hellcat and SBD Dauntless. Depending on how much of an aerophile you are, you can spend a few minutes or a couple hours wandering among them, and even climb inside the SH-3G Sea King, an anti-submarine helicopter.
Once youve had your aviation fix, take in the views of Charleston Harbor, Patriots Point and Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, which spans the Cooper River and connects downtown Charleston to Mount Pleasant.
Our small group splits here to do more exploring on our own. On my way back down to the main deck, weaving up and down narrow staircases, I come upon the radar room on Level 4 and feel compelled to pause. Here, sailors manned scopes on three types of radar equipment: air traffic control, fire control and surveillance. After checking them out, I look out over the harbor, somehow feeling at peace.
Leaving the ship, I check a text from my dad. Id messaged him before I boarded the Yorktown but didnt have reception on the ship to see his reply. What was Grandpas job on his Navy ship? Id asked. My heart skips when I read his response: Radar man.
Andrew Vodolazhskyi/Alamy Stock Photo
Recreation of a Vietnam War era MASH unit on display in Patriot’s Point.
Current And Upcoming Events At Patriots Point
What: Yorktown HalloweenTime: 5 pm – 7 pm Where: Patriots PointAdmission: Free
Theres nothing to fear at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum this Halloween. Families are invited to celebrate aboard the historic USS Yorktown on Saturday, October 23, from 5 pm – 7 pm. This event is free to attend.
Patriots Point encourages children to don their Halloween costumes and visit the Yorktowns Hangar Deck. Instead of going door to door, kids will trick-or-treat from plane to plane and collect candy beneath historic World War II aircraft. Families can also choose to participate in a guided Halloween-themed tour through the museum. During the event, visitors can enjoy a photo station, craft, and a cartoon playing every 30 minutes in the Smokey Stover Theater.
Giveaways include one Friends of the Fleet membership pass, which grants the pass holder and a guest unlimited visits to the museum for a year. Dinner options will be available during the event from local food trucks.
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Is Patriots Point Accessible
Keeping in mind the main attraction at Patriots Point is three military vessels that were never built for accessibility, there are things to do at the museum complex for those with walking handicaps.
In the USS Yorktown, the hangar deck and flight deck are accessible by elevator. This includes the Medal of Honor Museum, several aircraft displays, and the snack shop. Unfortunately, most of the rest of the ship is not accessible.
The USS Laffey and USS Clamagore are not accessible at all.
The Vietnam War Experience is an outdoor exhibit that is moderately accessible. A wooden boardwalk winds through the recreation of a camp, and several of the buildings are accessible.
Visiting Patriots Point Naval And Maritime Museum In Charleston Harbor
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When we began planning a stop in Charleston, South Carolina, one of the places Jeff was really looking forward to was the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum. He is really into military planes and ships, so this was the perfect place for him to explore. I love history, so I was all-in, too. And Kristin, well, she likes exploring just about anything.
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Patriots Point Naval And Maritime Museum Virtual Tour
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is home to three museum ships, the Patriots Point Museum, the Cold War Memorial, and a Vietnam Experience Exhibit.
Located in Charleston Harbor, across from Charleston, the Museum Ships include:
- USS Yorktown, an aircraft carrier
- USS Laffey, a destroyer
- USS Clamagore, a submarine
Patriots Point serves as an embarkation point for Fort Sumter tour boats and is home to several other vessels including the submarine USS Clamagore.
The site also is home to the Cold War Submarine Memorial, a replica of a Vietnam Support Base, and the Museum of the Medal of Honor.
Patriots Point Hiring For Multiple Positions During On
Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, home of the historic USS Yorktown, will host a career fair on Thursday, November 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The museum is currently hiring for at least seven positions.
Available full-time positions include carpenter, electrician, administrative assistant to the executive director, registrar, and security specialist. The museum is also hiring part-time cashiers. The USS Yorktown Foundation is searching for a part-time development manager.
The career fair will take place in the Patriots Point parking lot, near ticket sales. Job seekers are encouraged to submit applications in advance by visiting www.patriotspoint.org/careers. Applicants can also use the link to find more information about the open positions, including the available salary ranges for full-time positions. Participants should come with resumes in hand and be prepared for immediate interviews on-site.
Patriots Point is such a unique and rewarding place to work, said Director of Human Resources Sylvia Wasden. Our team has the opportunity to meet people from across the world while preserving stories of valor and historic Navy vessels. Working aboard and alongside the USS Yorktown is something to be proud of.
Job applicants who attend the career fair will have an opportunity to enter a raffle to win a Friends of the Fleet pass. Friends of the Fleet pass holders are entitled to unlimited admission for themselves and a guest for an entire year.
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