USS Midway Named America's Best Museum Ship

Battleship USS Iowa takes second place

The Historic Naval Ships Association represents 188 historic vessels – battleships, destroyers, submarines and aircraft carriers to name a few – in twelve countries around the world. These museum ships, many of them in the United States, honor the men and women who served in the navy, educate the public about America's storied naval heritage and inspire the next generation to serve.

USS Alabama & USS Drum (Mobile, Ala.)
Visitors to the USS ALABAMA Battleship Memorial Park in Mobile, Ala. can not only tour the park's namesake battleship and National Historic Landmark, they can also tour the USS Drum, a submarine that patrolled from Pearl Harbor during WWII. Both vessels are open for self-guided tours, and the park also has on display a collection of 25 military aircraft. Photo courtesy of USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park
Battleship Missouri (Honolulu)
Commissioned in 1944, he USS Missouri had an astounding career over five decades and three wars – World War II, the Korean War, and Desert Storm. Affectionately nicknamed the “Mighty Mo,” she saw her share of protection and peacekeeping missions. Located a mere ship’s length from the USS Arizona Memorial, the Mighty Mo completes a historical visitor experience that begins with the “day of infamy” and sinking of the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and ends with Japan’s formal surrender aboard the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on September 2, 1945. Photo courtesy of Hawaii Tourism Authority (HTA) / Tor Johnson
USS Lexington (Corpus Christi, Texas)
Visitors to Corpus Christi, Texas can tour the USS Lexington, nicknamed “The Blue Ghost” by the Japanese propagandist Tokyo Rose because she never wore the typical camouflage paint of all the other U.S. aircraft carriers. Eleven decks and 100,000 square feet of the ship are open to visitors through five self-guided tour routes. Guided hard hat tours take visitors further into the ship. Photo courtesy of Thinkstock
USS Massachusetts, Joseph Kennedy, Jr. & Lionfish (Fall River, Mass.)
Visitors to aptly named Battleship Cove in Fall River, Mass. can tour three different museum ships on the same ticket: battleship USS Massachusetts, destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. and the submarine USS Lionfish. Battleship Cove is the world’s largest collection of historic naval ships, making it a great place for a sweeping look at U.S. naval history. Photo courtesy of jenn / Flickr
Battleship New Jersey (Camden, N.J.)
In Camden, N.J., just across the Delaware River from Philadelphia, sits our nation's largest and most decorated battleship, the USS New Jersey. Fully-restored, this battleship-turned-museum welcomes visitors of all ages to climb ladders, crawl through passageways and experience things just as the crew did when it was operational. Photo courtesy of Battleship New Jersey Museum & Memorial
USS Yorktown & USS Laffey (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.)
Just across the bridge from downtown Charleston, Patriots Point preserves naval history in its centerpiece: a World War II aircraft carrier named the USS Yorktown. Thirteen of its decks are open to visitors, as is the USS Laffey, the only surviving U.S. World War II destroyer that saw action in the Atlantic. Photo courtesy of Mr.TinDC / Flickr
Battleship North Carolina (Wilmington, N.C.)
The first of ten fast U.S. battleships that saw service in World War II, the USS North Carolina was decommissioned in 1947 and was narrowly saved from scrappers in 1960. Today she sits anchored in the Cape Fear River near Wilmington, N.C., where visitors can walk her decks and learn the stories of the crew who served on board. Photo courtesy of Mr.TinDC / Flickr
Battleship Texas (La Porte, Texas)
The USS Texas was the last of the battleships patterned after HMS Dreadnought to participate in World Wars I and II, and at the time, she was considered the most powerful warship afloat. The battleship became the first battleship memorial museum in the nation in 1948. The ship is part of the San Jacinto Battle Monument and Museum in Houston. Photo courtesy of SurfinSafari / Flickr
Battleship USS Iowa (Los Angeles)
USS Iowa began her service with an unsuccessful mission to hunt down the German Battleship Tirpitz in 1942 before welcoming aboard President Roosevelt for a trip to Casablanca for the Teheran Conference. Permanently decommissioned in 1990, the ship opened as a museum in the Port of Los Angeles in 2012, where visitors tour the only battleship museum on the West Coast. Photo courtesy of Jeremy Bonelle
USS Midway (San Diego)
The aircraft carrier USS Midway, which served from 1945-1992, offers a fascinating glimpse into life aboard a giant ship. Visitors can take the self-guided audio tour, then check out some two dozen aircraft on the flight deck and ride a flight simulator. Docents, some of whom served on the ship while it was active, are on board every day to answer questions and can occasionally be persuaded to relate a funny or interesting story or two. Photo courtesy of USS Midway Museum

10Best editors nominated 20 outstanding vessels from the members of the Historic Naval Ship Association as nominees for Best Museum Ship, and for the past four weeks, our readers have been voting daily for their favorites.

The top 10 winners in the category Best Museum Ship are as follows:

  1. USS Midway - San Diego
  2. Battleship USS Iowa - Los Angeles
  3. Battleship Texas - La Porte, Texas
  4. Battleship North Carolina - Wilmington, N.C.
  5. USS Yorktown & USS Laffey - Mt. Pleasant, S.C.
  6. Battleship New Jersey - Camden, N.J.
  7. USS Massachusetts, Joseph Kennedy, Jr. & Lionfish - Fall River, Mass.
  8. USS Lexington - Corpus Christi, Texas
  9. Battleship Missouri - Honolulu
  10. USS Alabama & USS Drum - Mobile, Ala.

Other nominees for the category Best Museum Ship included the Cruiser Olympia & Submarine Becuna; SS Jeremiah O'Brien; U-505; USS Constellation, USS Torsk & USCGC Cutter Taney; USS Constitution & USS Cassin Young; USS Hornet, USS Intrepid & Submarine Growler; USS Nautilus; USS Pampanito and the USS Potomac.

Congratulations to all our wonderful winners!