Weather :

Launch Year : 1797

Year of Maiden Voyage : 1798

Nickname : Old Ironsides

In Active Service : Yes

Admission Fee : None

Accessibility : Limited

Parking : Designated Parking at the USS Constitution Museum and around the Navy Yard Visitor Center in Charlestown

Closed On : Martin Luther King, Jr's birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day

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USS Constitution, Boston Overview

Also referred to as Old Ironsides, the USS Constitution happens to be the oldest commissioned vessel belonging to the United States Navy that remains afloat and in service. Right across from the vessel, in Building 22, is the USS Constitution Museum that offers the public a chance to learn in depth about its history and legacy.

The USS Constitution that is located at Pier One, Charlestown Navy Yard, happens to be a major historical site towards the end of the Freedom Trail that speaks volumes about the Navy and the city’s role in the many wars. A wooden-hulled, three-masted heavy frigate, the USS Constitution belongs to the US Navy and was launched in 1797 in order to protect American merchant shipping during the Quai-War against France, as well as to overcome the First Barbary War against the Barbary pirates.

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USS Constitution Tours

One of the 16 sites linked by the Freedom Trail, the USS Constitution is open round the calendar and visitors aren't required to pay an admission fee. While the timings may differ depending on the seasons and holidays, those who wish to know about its glorious history and can walk up the to the deck without assistance, can do so. Entry is first-come, first-serve, and all visitors must go through security, which includes answering screening questions, showing a federal or state identification (only for those 18 and above) as well as getting bags checked (all heavy objects must be removed). Additionally, the USS Constitution also organises 45-minute cruises and 15-minute oral presentations for those interested.

USS Constitution Museum

Part of the Boston National Historical Park in the Charlestown Navy Yard, the USS Constitution Museum is located close to the USS Constitution, the Navy vessel, towards the end of the Freedom Trail. This private, non-profit museum is where one would find a number of collections and exhibits, along with the Samuel Eliot Morison Memorial library, all providing an extensive amount of information on the USS Constitution; its designing, construction as well as when it was sailed. Moreover, the museum is known to give away awards to those who possess some of the characteristics representative of the vessel. These include the Samuel Eliot Morison Award, the Charles Francis Adams Award and the Don Turner Award.

How to Reach USS Constitution

Given that the USS Constitution is one of the 16 sites on the Freedom Trail, visitors can simply walk on this trail and get to the vessel, having passed the other 15 sites. However, for those who wish to get here directly, they can go to Charlestown Navy Yard; the Green and Orange lines of the MTBA have stops nearby, with North Station and Bunker Hill Community College being the closest respective stations. When coming in a car, there is designated parking available at the USS Constitution Museum along with spots littered around the Navy Yard Visitor Center, Charlestown.

Present Day USS Constitution

The whole purpose behind keeping the ship open to public visits is to highlight the key role played by the US Navy during the numerous wars. The vessel, that is still in service today, makes one "turnaround cruise" each year and those interested can visit this historical establishment through a "lottery draw." Not only is it open to the public for free all throughout the year, it also participates in many ceremonies, educational programs, public events, outreach programs, and historic demonstrations. It is the Naval History and Heritage Command Detachment Boston that takes care of its maintenance, and makes sure to keep it quite close to the 1812 configuration. Having been built in the 18th century, USS Constitution has gone through several restorations, the most recent being a two-year program starting 2015.

History of USS Constitution

USS Constitution is a naval vessel that is one of the 16 main historical sites linked by the Freedom Trail. It was launched in the year 1797 and was among 6 original frigates that was to be constructed under the Naval Act of 1794, while its name was among 10 that were submitted to the then President George Washington by Timothy Pickering, the Secretary of War. Built to be one of the Navy’s capital ships, it was constructed larger and more heavily armed than most standard frigates.

The vessel is known to have played very prominent roles in the history of not just Boston, but the entire country; it was part of the Quasi- War (1798-1800) fought between the States and France, the First Barbary War (1801-1805) wherein United Sates as well as Sweden fought against 4 North African states known as the “Barbary States,” the Battle of Tripoli Harbor (1804), the War of 1812 between US and its allies, and the United Kingdom, Ireland and their allies, and was involved in battle against Guerriere and Java amongst others.

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