The U.S. Navy Seabee Museum is a place for CEC officers and Seabees to gather and be honored for their amazing service to our country. The museum houses and exhibits hundreds of artifacts and thousands of linear feet of archival material in order to tell these stories. But did you ever think about the museum itself? How did it all start? And how did we get to where we are? Here are some interesting facts to think about the next time you visit your Seabee Museum.
Why is the museum located in Port Hueneme? At the end of WWII thousands of Seabees were returning home and on their way they passed through the Naval Construction Battalion Center located in, you guessed it, Port Hueneme. The Seabees brought with them various historical souvenirs, mementos and other paraphernalia. But rather than complete the lengthy government paperwork process required to take the items home with them, most Seabees gave up, leaving the items at the base.
Who came up with the idea of creating a museum? That honor belongs to Commander Neil Kingsley, who in 1946, then Office in Charge of the Training and Distribution Center (TADCEN), conceived the idea. He consulted Commodore Beauford W. Finks, senior officer at NCBC, who immediately supported the idea. Commodore Finks authorized Commander Kingsley to obtain more Seabee related items, including dioramas that were used as training tools. Once more items were collected the museum was official established and the Seabee Museum came into being.
Is the Seabee Museum the oldest Navy museum? Not quite, the museum is the second oldest in the U.S. Navy museum system. Second only to the U.S. Naval Academy.
Have Seabees ever worked at the museum? Yes! The Seabees themselves have always played an integral part of the Seabee Museum. In February 1965, the first permanent staff of the museum included a curator, an assistant curator and three Seabees. To this day the museum relies on the expertise of current and former Seabees in the form of volunteers and guides.
When did the museum move into its current location? The museum finally moved off base and into a new state-of-the-art facility, complete with new exhibits and professional staff in 2011.
For more information on the history of the museum, please visit our expanded museum history section located here: http://www.history.navy.mil/museums/seabee/history.htm.
For information on museum hours, exhibits, and events, please visit our site at: http://www.history.navy.mil/museums/Seabee/seabee_museum.htm
We look forward to seeing you!
Meet the Archivist: Ingi House
Ingi House is originally from Kansas where she got her B.A. in history from the University of Kansas and M.L.S. from Emporia State University. After working for the Dole Institute of Politics she moved to the East Coast. In D.C. she worked at the National Archives and Records Administration and then at the Defense Acquisition University where she became a Certified Archivist. Her continued enjoyment of military history lead her to switching coasts and coming to work for the Seabee Museum where she is collection manager for the archives and records manager liaison.