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Olympia

The cruiser Olympia and submarine Becuna will be closed to the public on Monday, December 1 and Wednesday, December 3. We apologize for any inconvenience.

 

Visit our Olympia blog to view the ship's Technical Documents and learn more about her history.


Particulars

  • Length: 344 Feet
  • Beam: 53 feet
  • Displacement: 5,870 tons
  • Crew: 33 Officers, 396 enlisted men
  • Top Speed: 22 knots (25mph)
  • Coal Consumption at Top Speed: 633 lbs./minute

Launched in 1892, The Olympia (C-6) is the oldest steel warship afloat in the world.

 

 

 

Historic Significance

From the moment of her launching in 1892, Olympia was a rare treasure in the U.S. naval fleet, as no sister ships were ever built. She is the world's oldest floating steel warship and the sole surviving  naval ship of the Spanish-American War.

Olympia served as Admiral Dewey's flagship at the Battle of Manila Bay, which marked the U.S.'s emergence as a world naval power. Olympia's last official naval mission was to carry the body of the Unknown Soldier from France to the United States in 1921. In addition to being a National Historic Landmark, Olympia is also a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, on the National Register of Historic Places, and part of the Save America's Treasures program.

 

 

Special Behind-the-Scenes Tours of Olympia & Becuna

First Saturday of every month, Noon - 4 pm, April through December.

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Explore areas of the ships normally off-limits to the public. See the Olympia's triple expansion steam engines, boiler room, and working ash hoist, and the Becuna's conning tower, plus take a peek through the sub's periscope.

Must be 12 or older and able to climb steep stairs. Tickets are $15 and include Museum admission. Free for Museum Members.

Please note: Historic Ships are not wheelchair accessible.

 

Historic Ship Collections

Along with the Cruiser Olympia and Submarine Becuna, the Seaport Museum also maintains a vast collection of historical artifacts and records relating to both vessels. The Cruiser Olympia Collection has been inventoried and a collections guide can be found on the Online Resources page of the website.

The Submarine Becuna collection, which is not currently processed, dates from the 1940s until the 1960s. The collection is essentially divided into two parts: the submarine's plans and mechanical operations, and the personal accounts and artifacts of those that served aboard her. Accounts and artifacts include correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, oral histories, biographies and ephemera, like menus, ration cards, invitations, and programs, relating to submariner's time on Becuna.

For more information about either historic ships' collection, please contact the Archives & Library. If you are interested in donating historical artifacts and records to the collections, please contact the Seaport Museum's Collection Manager.

Spanish American War

On May 1, 1898, in an eight-hour battle, Olympia devastated the Spanish fleet at the Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines. This was not only the first victory of the Spanish-American War, but the Olympia's efforts helped catapult the United States into the role of superpower and won fame for her most famous officer, Commodore George Dewey. It was from Olympia's recently restored bridge that Dewey delivered his famous order, "You may fire when you are ready, Gridley."

 

World War I

Olympia served with anti-submarine escort convoys protecting shipping in the Atlantic from German U-boat attacks. Later, she was sent to Murmansk to engage the Bolsheviks in the newly formed USSR.

Unknown Soldier

As the most significant commissioned US warship capable of making the journey, the Olympia was selected for the honor of bringing the Unknown Soldier home for interment in the United States.

Cruiser Olympia was decommissioned in 1922 and has been part of Independence Seaport Museum since 1996.

Olympia is a National Historic Landmark, a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark, is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is part of the Save America's Treasures program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Become a Volunteer!

To learn more about volunteer opportunities aboard Olympia, contact Jesse Lebovics at 215-413-8643 or visit our Volunteer page. 

Visit Olympia on Facebook

Visit our Living History Crew on Facebook.

 Visit the Spanish-American War Centennial website.