Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum

Walking in the Steps of Heroes


A visit to Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is an opportunity to walk in the steps of the heroes of our country who have served in the military. The museum includes three historic vessels of the U.S. Navy that served from World War II through the Cold War, as well as a Cold War Submarine Memorial, the Medal of Honor Museum, and an expansive 2.5-acre Vietnam Experience exhibit that highlights the heroes of the Vietnam War.

The centerpiece of Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum is the mighty USS Yorktown CV-10, the nation’s tenth aircraft carrier. The Yorktown began her service in 1943 and served valiantly in World War II earning 11 battle stars and a Presidential Unit Citation.

Reedville was once the wealthiest town per capita in the United States, and the number one “port for tonnage” of fish landed for 125 years in the country.

Her service continued through the Vietnam War until her final decommission in 1970, not long after she was involved in recovering the astronauts of the Apollo 8 mission in December 1968. An exhibit in Hangar Bay I of the Yorktown allows guests to step inside a replica Apollo 8 capsule and experience what it was like for the astronauts who were the first to orbit the moon. Known as “The Fighting Lady,” the Yorktown was the first ship of the museum when it opened in 1976.

In the hangar bays and flight deck of the USS Yorktown guests will find the majority of the museum’s 28 historically-significant aircraft on display. The Hook magazine, the official journal of the Tailhook Association, has recognized the Yorktown as the only carrier museum in the country to display all 10 of the most significant aircraft in U.S. carrier aviation history.

The USS Yorktown is also home to the Medal of Honor Museum and the national headquarters of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. The museum pays special tribute to the American heroes who have been honored for showing remarkable courage while serving their country from the Civil War to the modern era.

After exploring the USS Yorktown, head on over to the naval destroyer berthed alongside the pier, the amazing USS Laffey DD-724, a hero of World War II in both the Pacific and Atlantic theaters known as “The Ship That Would Not Die.” While aboard the USS Laffey, check out the three interactive and immersive exhibits highlighting the ship’s remarkable service history – The Cold War Experience in the ship’s Combat Information Center; the Engine Room Experience down below deck; and the Mount 53 Experience that puts guests in the gun mount at the stern of the ship as she was attacked by more than 20 Japanese aircraft off Okinawa in World War II.

In addition to the vessels that operated above the sea, the museum is also home to the USS Clamagore SS-343, a 322-ft. diesel-powered submarine that was commissioned in 1945 at the end of World War II. Explore the confined spaces of the Clamagore as you learn about her service throughout the Cold War. Converted to a GUPPY III submarine in 1963 and decommissioned in 1975, the USS Clamagore is a unique vessel unlike any other museum ship submarine in the country.

Once you have navigated your way through the vessels of Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum, it’s time to step back in time to the era of the Vietnam War. Using state-of-the-art technology and rare artifacts, the Vietnam Experience exhibit brings the war to life in a nearly three-acre land-side exhibit. Guests experience the sights and sounds of the Vietnam War as they learn what it was like to live and work in a U.S. Navy Advanced Tactical Support Base (Brown Water Navy) and a U.S. Marine Corps Artillery Firebase.

As cooler temperatures prevail in the fall, it’s a perfect time to visit Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum and explore the vessels and exhibits from top to bottom and bow to stern. While the museum has been open for more than 40 years, recent additions of interactive and immersive exhibits have truly brought history to life and make a visit while in the Charleston area a must for everyone’s to-do list! Visitors can spend a few hours or even all day seeing all that there is to see. When they leave, they are guaranteed to leave with a greater understanding and a stronger appreciation of what our military has sacrificed in service to our country.


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