The St. Marys Submarine Museum located in St. Marys, Georgia celebrated its l01h anniversary last year. For those readers not already familiar with our museum, here are a few interesting facts for you. The Museum is:
- The fifth largest submarine museum in the U.S.
- The largest in the southeastern United States
- Located in historic St. Marys, just l 0 miles east of-95-close to the Kings Bay Submarine Base-The recipient of the 2007 Commander-In Chief’s Award for Installation Excellence.
- Houses over 20,000 artifacts, photos and written history items and the display include a working type 8 periscope
- And is host to the annual WWII Subvets Memorial Service held at Kings Bay Sub Base each year.
Service held at Kings Bay Sub Base each year.
In a very trying period for the military generally and submarines in particular, this museum serves a particular need and does it very well. That is educating the public about this vital segment of our military. The Silent Service needs this voice more than ever before. And there is that fascination with submarines that exists for most of us.
Additionally the Submarine Force needs the visibility that is not generally available to the public. A very few people are privileged to visit submarine bases and our submarine museums are the alternative source for supplying submarine history as well as needed data for the media when required. We have the largest collection of printed copies of WWII patrol report outside of the Naval Archives. Our Jack Schiff Research Library has been used by CNN, National Geographic and many other media outlets, historians, authors and individuals. Major shipboard components from submarines on display include the Type 8 periscope, ship control panel, ballast control panel, torpedo tube breach door, watertight door and several other shipboard items. In 2003 we were bequeathed the Ben Bastura Submarine Library and Museum. An Army veteran, Ben started in the 1950s collecting WWII submarine history and artifacts. We are very proud of this collection.
The St. Marys Submarine Museum contains a vast treasure of submarine history that links the past with the present. Members of the Naval Submarine League know how important it is for the visual thrills of actually seeing these splendid artifacts of their service in the continuing effort to educate the public on the many contributions to our national defense. And l believe it immensely helps the well being of our Submarine Force.
Our museum’s over l, 700 WWII patrol reports, as well as the many artifacts; photos; boat histories; books; etc. make our museum a primary research source. Since our opening, well over l 00,000 people have visited this museum. While many have had previous experience regarding submarines, the majority of visitors have not. Our museum, along with the others in the U.S. has provided a widening acquaintance with the submarine service. In a recent week at the museum our visitors log included visitors from Poland, China, Canada, and Germany as well as from a dozen different states. What a mission in education this shows! In this little town in southeast Georgia, we are ensuring that our story is known by people around the globe.
It is a bit difficult to believe that this fine museum was con· ceived; built; and supported almost entirely by the residents of the small towns of St. Marys, Kingsland, and Woodbine. But we must not forget those submariners at Kings Bay and around the world who answered our call and made the big difference in our opening. I called on many of my submarine friends-you know who you are. Thank you. And Jack Schiff our museum angel has been our constant contributor and who truly has kept the doors open.
I told those who volunteered their time and energy and who contributed to the building fund for the museum that they would have reason to be very proud of what they were doing. I believe that is true today. Our museum has become a major part of downtown St. Marys. Visitors enjoy the laid back southern hospitality they find when visiting this historic area and our unique museum.
With the increasing costs associated with operations we have been hard-pressed to do the preservation work required to properly display the many artifacts donated to our museum with the funds we have had. To continue to do this we need help from subvets, individuals and corporations across the country.
If the readers of this article believe in the preservation of our submarine history and the need to educate the public on the importance of our submarine service-we ask you to think about our museum!! Any help would be appreciated. To correspond with us:
The St. Marys Submarine Museum
102 St. Marys Street W
St. Marys, Georgia 31558
Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org or you may contact me direct at email@example.com.
Finally, if you intend to be one of the many thousands visiting Florida each year, look for the St. Marys exit 3 on 1-95 just north of the Florida-Georgia line and go east for approximately l 0 miles. We are in the building with the periscope sticking out of our roof This stop will be the highlight of your trip and we look forward to seeing you.