The USS Midway Museum is the most famous museum ship in the United States, located in San Diego California. It contains three various deck exhibits, an aircraft gallery with more than 50 aircraft onboard, and interactive exhibits and displays. The price of admission is lower for youth and veterans, and annual passes for groups of two and four are also for sale. Be sure to plan ahead when you visit this iconic USS Midway Museum on your next California visit.

History Of The USS Midway Museum

Initially built in 1943 and first launched in 1945, the Midway was the aircraft carrier with the longest tenure in the twentieth century. Its construction lasted only seventeen months; however, it was not able to serve during World War II. 

The Midway started its service by already operating during the Cold War, with it becoming the first American naval vessel to sail in the extreme north in 1946. It was also the only vessel to successfully capture and reuse a V-2 rocket in the subsequent year, sparking the start of missile-based ship-to-ship combat. It was also able to showcase atomic payload delivery by the carrier after launching a large patrol plane two years later.

The Midway worked with other ships in the Atlantic for a decade, being deployed seven times to patrol European waters. Its inaugural combat mission was in 1965 when its aircraft struck North Vietnam. Aircraft deployed from it eliminated three enemy aircraft, drawing the first aerial blood in the Vietnam War. The Midway, unfortunately, lost seventeen aircraft while it was deployed during the war. 

It was officially decommissioned in 1992 and was mothballed in Bremerton, Washington. It was later given as a donation to the nonprofit organization San Diego Aircraft Carrier Museum in 2003, which was later renamed the USS Midway Museum the following year. 

The Midway Museum Now

The USS Midway has been meticulously maintained throughout its life as a museum ship, its three exhibit decks kept in perfect condition. In addition to the many different displays, the museum also contains a flight simulator and a theater. The museum also has a youth education program, offering school programs for grades 2-8, overnight camps, and school tours, all held onboard.

Exhibits On Deck

The museum provides many different displays across three decks and an aircraft gallery.

The Hangar Deck lets you experience being on a warship’s hangar, containing exhibits from events such as the Battle of Midway, which includes interactive pieces such as an in-depth look into aircraft such as the F4F Wildcat, the SBD Dauntless, the iconic Bird Dog aircraft which was instrumental in the rescue of refugees from Saigon in 1975, and a collection of aircraft that was carried by the Midway early in her life. 

The Flight Deck contains many aircraft deployed on the Midway, dutifully maintained and fully interactive. Right below the deck is the Command center, where communications and other critical high-tech operations took place. The deck contains exhibits of twenty-six skillfully restored aircraft.  

Below Deck exhibits show the hustle and bustle of crew life, containing displays and natural areas where the crew would have worked, slept, eaten, exercised, and more. See where meals were prepared and served at the Chow Line, where spiritual needs were met at the Midway Chapel, where laundry for the whole crew was done at the Wardroom, where health needs were met at the Sick Bay and Dental, and where the ship’s inner workings were maintained in Engineering.

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