Tour the Historic Naval Academy Yard

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    Bancroft Hall

    Photo © Nancy Parode

    The United States Naval Academy, founded in 1845, trains young men and women for service in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps. Located in beautiful Annapolis, Maryland, the Academy campus makes a wonderful daytrip from either Washington, DC or Baltimore. You can wander the Yard on your own or take a guided tour.

    The 4,000-plus midshipmen who make up the Naval Academy's student body live, study, and sleep here. Bancroft Hall is one of the largest dormitories in the U.S.

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    Famous Astronauts Gallery

    Photo © Nancy Parode

    An amazing 52 astronauts (to date) are Naval Academy graduates.

    The first Navy astronaut was Alan Shepard, who flew above the Earth in this Mercury capsule, Freedom 7, now on display at the Visitor Center.

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    Lejeune Hall's Olympic Swimming Pool

    Photo © Nancy Parode

    As you might guess, sailing, navigation and swimming are all on the curriculum at the Academy.

    Each midshipman must jump off the 3-meter high dive, in uniform, in order to graduate. All midshipmen must also complete an endurance swim, also in uniform.

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    Heisman Trophies, Lejeune Hall

    Photo © Nancy Parode

    The Heisman Trophies won by Academy graduates Joe Bellino and Roger Staubach are displayed in Lejeune Hall.

    Many visitors to the Academy consider seeing these prestigious trophies the height of their tour experience. You can also see photographs of famous Academy athletes, winning Army-Navy game footballs and trophies won by Academy grads in Lejeune Hall.

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  • 05 of 14

    Dahlgren Hall and B-1 Aircraft

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    Photo © Nancy Parode

    Dahlgren Hall is used for special events, athletic practices and midshipman family visits.

    At one end of Dahlgren Hall is a working model of a B-1 aircraft. At the other, you'll see the USS Antietam, a training vessel designed to teach midshipmen about sailing ship rigging and seamanship ("learning the ropes"). Academy graduate H. Ross Perot donated funds to create a special area in Dahlgren Hall for midshipmen to entertain visitors.

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  • 06 of 14

    Naval Academy Chapel

    Photo © Nancy Parode

    Naval hero John Paul Jones is buried in the Naval Academy Chapel's crypt.

    The Chapel is known for its Tiffany glass windows as well as its crypt, where John Paul Jones lies in a marble sarcophagus, surrounded by his swords, awards and other memorabilia.

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    Chapel Interior

    Photo © Nancy Parode

    Behind the altar, you can see a Tiffany glass portrait of Jesus walking on the water, surmounted by the motto "Eternal Father, Strong to Save."

    The Naval Academy Chapel is a popular wedding venue. In fact, on the Saturday of Commissioning Week, weddings take place every hour, on the hour.

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    Right Transept, Naval Academy Chapel

    Photo © Nancy Parode

    The Tiffany glass window in the Chapel's right transept depicts Saint Michael the Archangel.

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    Ceremonial Sword of John Paul Jones

    Photo © Nancy Parode

    France's King Louis XVI presented a ceremonial sword to naval hero John Paul Jones. Today, it is on display in the Chapel crypt near Jones' tomb.

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    Houdon Bust of John Paul Jones

    Photo © Nancy Parode

    Famed French sculptor Jean-Antoine Houdon created this bust of naval hero John Paul Jones from a life mask.

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    Herndon Monument

    Photo © Nancy Parode

    Herndon Monument is the site of an annual ritual at the end of the school year. Plebes (freshmen) must climb this monument to retrieve a "Dixie cup" cap.

    Of course, there's a catch. The monument is coated with 200 pounds of lard and hosed down with water before the climb begins. Yum!

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    Tecumseh Statue

    Photo © Nancy Parode

    This statue, dubbed "Tecumseh" by the midshipmen many years ago, was originally intended to depict a Native American named Tamanend.

    Today, the statue is a sort of good-luck charm for the midshipmen. Tecumseh is painted before every special event - he's been the Mad Hatter, a Top Gun pilot, an American flag and more - the midshipmen are extremely inventive.

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  • 13 of 14

    Memorial Hall Chandelier

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    Photo © Nancy Parode

    Memorial Hall, an ornate gallery within Bancroft Hall, is dedicated to famous Academy alumni who gave their lives in the service of the nation.

    Memorial Hall is beautiful, hung with crystal chandeliers and decorated with paintings, busts of naval heroes and famous flags. It's a popular venue for promotion and retirement ceremonies.

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  • 14 of 14

    Don't Give Up the Ship Banner

    Photo © Nancy Parode

    Oliver Hazard Perry commissioned this banner after his friend, James Lawrence, spoke these words as he lay dying onboard USS Chesapeake during the War of 1812.

    Perry's banner flew on his ship, the USS Lawrence, during the Battle of Lake Erie in 1813. After the Lawrence sank, Perry took the banner onboard the USS Niagara and eventually won the naval battle.