SHIP:  
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
MUSEUM:  
10:00 am - 5:00 pm
SHIP:  
10:00 am - 6:00 pm
MUSEUM:  
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

CATEGORY

Life at Sea

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The day-to-day documents and objects used by crew members on naval vessels represent the minutiae of life at sea in the early United States Navy. This collection of items sheds light on the procedures, rituals, disciplines, and daily activities of the officers and crew.

Aboard ship, a sailor’s life was highly regimented under the direction of the captain. Since the ship had to be operating 24 hours a day, the crew rotated between eating, working, and sleeping. The day was divided up into five watch periods that were four hours long and two watch periods that were two hours long, known as the dogwatches. The ship’s bell rang every half hour, starting with one bell at the beginning of the watch. Eight bells signaled the beginning of a new watch. Sailors performed the same weekly routines of ship maintenance, washing, and exercising at quarters, while also taking part in the leisure activities of writing, singing, sharing stories, and playing games.

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