Naval museum prepares for move to Building 50

The Naval Memorial Museum will open in its new location on Aug. 25.  - Photo by Jesse Beals
The Naval Memorial Museum will open in its new location on Aug. 25.
— image credit: Photo by Jesse Beals

After years of planning for the move to Building 50, the Naval Memorial Museum will close the doors of its Pacific Avenue location Aug. 2 to begin the final preparations for its movement to its new location.

The goal is to have everything in place for the museum’s reopening on Aug. 25, said Erica Varga, who works at the Naval Undersea Museum in Keyport.

Varga is assisting the Bremerton museum with the movement of its artifacts and other materials into the historic building.

“With the collections movement we are on schedule,” Varga said.

Once the museum is opened to the public, it will be a true asset to the entire community, museum director Lyle Nelson said.

“It’s one of the things we’ve been working for, for years,” Nelson said. “I think it’s going to be a surprise to the community.”

A group of Seabees from Naval Base Kitsap will help finish the preparations to the basement of Building 50 for archival storage before any materials are actually moved into the new location, Varga said.

“Three to five percent of the actual collection will be on display at any one time,” she said.

The remainder of the collection will be kept in storage until a plan is developed to rotate exhibits throughout the three-story structure, which is the oldest building in the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, she said.

The reason the museum is closing for the three-week period is because at some point having visitors and movers in the current location would create a disruption in service, she said.

By closing the museum, volunteers and movers will be able to make the move in a much smoother fashion, Varga said.

With the larger space comes the need for more volunteers to staff the museum, Nelson said.

“We’re going to be doubling the size of our docents,” he said.

The museum will still be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from 1-4 p.m. on Sundays, but instead of having one volunteer per shift, it will require three, he said.

Those volunteers will be needed until the federal government assumes control of the museum and its operations, he said.

“I believe that is in the best interest of the museum and the city,” Nelson said.

Additional volunteers are still needed for various positions inside the museum. To find how to get involved call Charlene Zettl at (360) 479-2367 or Nelson at (360) 377-9278.

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