More Maritime Stories

The exhibition Answering America's Call: Newport News in World War I commemorates the 100th anniversary of America's involvement in the "war to end all wars." The Great War, the defining event of the 20th century, indelibly hit home, transforming the city and her people forever. The exhibition gives voice to people from Newport News or who served here or passed through on their way "Over There." The wartime experience is displayed through personal effects, letters, photographs, newspaper articles, propaganda posters, and artifacts from the Museum's Collection as well as loans from other museums and private lenders.

Museum curators and archivists discovered a wealth of stories that simply could not be fully told in the exhibition, due to the confines and nature of allocated gallery space. So we are pleased to share some of our favorites with you here. Check back regularly as the staff will be adding more in-depth features.


Featured Stories

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    Miss Lydia “Rose” Gould Weld

    The term ‘Renaissance Woman’ seems to describe Miss Lydia “Rose” Gould Weld to a tee. Consider this: Weld was one of the first women to graduate with an engineering degree from any college in the United States. In 1903, the then-male bastion, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), awarded her a degree in Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering,… Read More

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    Lusitania and Unrestricted Submarine Warfare

    On June 7, 1906, Britain’s Cunard Line launched the world’s largest ship – RMS Lusitania. It was designed by Leonard Peskett and built by John Brown and Company of Clydebank, Scotland, beginning in 1904. After two years of construction, the impressive vessel measured roughly 787 feet and weighed more than 31,500 tons.… Read More

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    Battleship USS Virginia

    USS Virginia (Battleship No. 13) was a pre-dreadnought battleship. Laid down in May 1902 at Newport News Shipbuilding and Dry Dock Company, and commissioned on May 7, 1906, Virginia was the lead ship of its class. Most of Virginia‘s career serving the Atlantic Fleet was focused on maintaining fleet readiness by conducting peacetime training exercises.… Read More

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    Subchasers

    America had not yet entered World War I when President Woodrow Wilson called upon Congress to pass an emergency bill to fund the rapid expansion of what he called “incomparably, the greatest navy in the world.” The rise of Germany’s unrestricted submarine warfare and concern for the safety of Allied military and merchant ships in the Atlantic shipping lanes led to the August 1916 passing of the “Big Navy Act.”… Read More


Together We Win poster by artist James Montgomery Flagg
"Together We Win" poster, artist James Montgomery Flagg, United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation, ca. 1918. (1962.0126.000001)

Life in the Camps

This presentation features photos, postcards, and handwritten personal messages about life in the US Army Port of Embarkation Camps on the Peninsula. Explore what it was like to be stationed at Camp Stuart, Camp Morrison, and Camp Hill. See the contributions made to the war effort by volunteers, the Red Cross, and the YMCA. Experience Victory through ships coming back home, massive troop homecoming parades, and jubilant celebrations in downtown Newport News.