13. Can I visit the curator of Navy ship models?
The David Taylor Model Basin is part of the Naval Surface Warfare Center, Carderock Division Headquarters, located in West Bethesda, Maryland. Because security classified tests of modern naval ship designs are frequently performed, the Center is not accessible for casual, general visiting.
Those wishing to tour the Center should schedule an appointment with the Public Affairs Office at 301-227-4465, Email: CRDIVCPAO@navy.mil. Those wishing to visit only the exhibition ship model unit should schedule an appointment with the Curator at 301-227-1140. Visitors are welcome, workload permitting.
There is no all-day public transportation to the Naval Surface Warfare Center in West Bethesda, MD. Private automobile is the best way to reach the location and travel within the multi-acre Center.
All visitors must be U.S. citizens, be at least fourteen years old, and must have picture identification. No cameras or recording devices are allowed.
14. What if I am a ship model building hobbyist?
There are a number of American and foreign periodicals available about ship model building and your local library can help you find them. There are many local ship model building clubs and several regional groups of specialized ship model associations.
For more information about clubs contact the Secretary, Nautical Research Guild.
15. How do you repair ship models?
To avoid shipping problems, you will probably want to have your model repaired locally. Check with a local hobby shop for ship model builders in your area or contact the Secretary, Nautical Research Guild.
16. How do you appraise ship models?
As an agency of the federal government, our office does not provide for the public monetary appraisals of ship models.
17. What ship models are in the collection?
Key to Model Types
EXH - Exhibition Models. Museum-style display models. Quality varies
DRA - Drawing room models. Waterline models depicting only major superstructure & deck features. Little detail. Used for reference by Bureau of Ships designers during WWII.
HAL - Half hull models
REC - Recognition models. Small-scale waterline models formerly used for learning ship identification. Usually factory-made and not highly detailed.
TEC - Technical models made for test purposes
MOD_LEN is the length of the model in inches
List of Models
Please understand that the Office of the Curator of Ship Models is not a museum. Other than small recognition and half hull models, relatively few major models are located at Bethesda. Most are loaned out to other institutions. For more information about individual models, please email the Curator of Ship Models at email@example.com.
PLEASE NOTE: THE CURATOR OF SHIP MODELS DOES NOT HAVE ANY SHIPS PLANS OR MODEL PLANS.
A good place to start looking for ships plans is the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Record Group 19: https://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/019.html
The official history and photos of most U.S. naval vessels can be found at: https://www.history.navy.mil/
18. What does "museum quality" mean?
The term "museum quality" is sometimes used to describe a model which, in the speaker's opinion, is an example of superior work. "Museum quality" is a subjective appraisal with no official definition within the museum community.
19. About plastic model kits
Regardless of the materials from which they are made, model kits are a good way to learn about maritime history, ships, ship construction, to develop skills, and to have fun. Every member of our staff built model kits in his youth. We encourage you to contact a local hobby shop or surf the web to find out more about model kits of all types.
Some sites of interest related to plastic model ship model building include:
International Plastic Modelers' Society (IPMS)
Nautical Research Guild