MEDIA ALERT: 1st USS Minnesota Artifacts to be at Commissioning of 3rd USS Minnesota in Norfolk Saturday

For immediate release

Release dated: 
September 4, 2013
Media contacts: 

Jessica Kohen, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3148, jessica.kohen@mnhs.org
Megan Lawson, Marketing and Communications, 651-259-3141, megan.lawson@mnhs.org

MEDIA ALERT: 1st USS Minnesota Artifacts to be at Commissioning of 3rd USS Minnesota in Norfolk Saturday

BellWheel
(Download images of the bell and wheel.)

WHAT: A bell and wheel from the first USS Minnesota will make a stop in Norfolk, Virginia on Saturday, Sept. 7, during the commissioning of the Navy’s newest USS Minnesota. Please feel free to use the images below in your news stories. Interviews with our senior curator Adam Scher can also be arranged. The bell and wheel are on loan to the North Carolina Maritime Museum and are in the process of being returned to the Minnesota Historical Society. After a brief stop in Norfolk, the artifacts will be packed up and sent by truck back to Minnesota.

WHEN/WHERE: The USS Minnesota (SSN 783) will be commissioned on Saturday, Sept. 7 at 10 a.m. (EST) at the U.S. Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia.

BACKGROUND: The first USS Minnesota was a steam frigate launched on Dec. 1, 1855 at the Washington D.C. Navy Yard and commissioned on May 21, 1857. The ship saw battle throughout the Civil War, including the joint Army-Navy expedition against the Confederate forts at Hatteras Inlet, August 1861; against the Confederate squadron led by the ironclad Virginia throughout the battle of Hampton Roads, March 8-9, 1862; against the Confederate torpedo boat Squib, which damaged the ship off Newport News on April 9, 1864; and in support of the campaign against Fort Fisher, Dec. 25 1864-Jan. 15 1865 which resulted in the closing of port Wilmington, the Confederates’ last port. The Minnesota was withdrawn from active service in 1865, and for the next 35 years it served as a training vessel. The cast brass bell is 30 inches in diameter and weighs 300 pounds, it bears the Minnesota’s name, the initials of the Washington Navy Yard where the ship was built, and the year the bell was dedicated, 1856. The double wooden wheel measures five feet in diameter, and required two helmsmen to operate. For more about Minnesota's role in the Civil War, visit Minnesota and the Civil War on view at the Minnesota History Center through Sunday, Sept. 8. Hours have been extended for the final day with an earlier opening, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

INTERVIEWS: Adam Scher, senior curator, Minnesota Historical Society will be available for scheduled interviews.