By SARAH CODY
12:00 AM EDT, March 20, 2014
Known internationally, Battleship Cove in Fall River, Mass., is an important destination.
“What we have here is the largest collection of preserved U.S. Navy ships in the world. Now, that’s a big deal,” says Brad King, who traveled from England to pursue his job as executive director. “Any child of any age, from 9 to 90, can appreciate, get a huge wow factor of the sheer ingenuity of these ships.”
Located on a scenic stretch of coast, the waters of Battleship Cove are home to four ships, all national historic landmarks: the USS Lionfish, an attack submarine; the USS Joseph P Kennedy; a Soviet-built missile corvette called the Hiddensee; and the USS Massachusetts.
“She’s the biggest kid on the block, and she was home to 2,000 crew during World War II,” says King.
Visitors can explore the massive vessel, taking in all eight floors, including bunk rooms, the galley and a display called Women Protecting Us.
“One of the star exhibits is this coat here,” says King, pointing to a nurse’s uniform filled with badges the nurse collected from her patients. “Every one of these badges tells a story.”
While the winter has been filled with family and Boy Scout sleepovers aboard the USS Massachusetts, summer will bring the return of The Pearl Harbor Experience, an authentic re-enactment of the attack.
“It’s a very immersive experience. We have special effects in the water,” says King, explaining that seeing these pieces of history is different than reading about them. “When we get high school kids in here, they’re not far off the age of the crews that were actually operating this in harm’s way and that’s what we have to appreciate.”
The museum is open 362 days a year. Family sleepovers, aboard the USS Massachusetts, are coming up on April 25, July 12, Aug. 2 and Sept. 6. Minimum age is 6 years old. Click here to go to Battleship Cove’s website for more information.