One of the USS Constitution Museum’s primary goals is to encourage scholarship, research, and new interpretations of USS Constitution‘s history by making our collections available to the public. In pursuit of this goal, we recently partnered with Digital Commonwealth to digitize and provide free online access to our extensive War of 1812 collection.

Digital Commonwealth is a statewide consortium of libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies from across Massachusetts that provides online access to thousands of cultural heritage materials. Our War of 1812 manuscripts, pamphlets, rare books and more are being scanned by a team at the Boston Public Library and made available through Digital Commonwealth and the Internet Archive. Soon these items will also be searchable through the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA). To date, Digital Commonwealth has digitized 385 items from our collection and that number continues to grow.

From these platforms, users can explore the collections and search for specific items. Each item record includes detailed object metadata and high-resolution images with zoom function. The records and images can also be shared via email and social media. Below is an example of items from the Isaac Hull Papers, 1791-1862, which are on loan to the Museum from a private collection.


search-pageAt the Internet Archive, users can leaf through the Museum’s bound War of 1812 materials, including rare books, pamphlets, logs, and journals. Each record includes high-resolution images that are text-searchable and can be downloaded in multiple formats. Below is a peek at the private journal of Midshipman Isaac Mayo, 1809-1819.





To learn more, visit our collections online at the following links:

Digital Commonwealth

Internet Archive

And stay tuned for more materials as we continue our partnership with Digital Commonwealth and offer expanded free and open access to our collections. This is just the beginning!

The Author(s)

Kate Monea
Manager of Curatorial Affairs, USS Constitution Museum

Kate Monea is the Manager of Curatorial Affairs at the USS Constitution Museum.