USS Albacore Museum, Portsmouth, NH


The USS Albacore Museum in Portsmouth, New Hampshire is a submarine that has been turned into a tourist attraction. The story of the USS Albacore is an interesting one dating to the early 1900's. The USS Albacore between 1939 and 1945 had the most success as a submarine force destroying 1,314 ships along with other subs in the force. The US Submarine Force with the Gato, Balao, and Tench classes had 15,000 officers and enlisted men to force Japan to surrender. The force suffered a loss of 52 subs due to the Japanese, though they had 288 subs. The USS Albacore was one of the lost ships, which occurred in November of 1944. It hit a mine and went down with all hands on board.

The USS Albacore was not strictly a sub. The first was a carrier named Albacore, which was the one lost in 1944. The history of submarines is imperative to understand why the USS Albacore could be a submarine and a carrier. Back in 1917 when the ship was built submarines acted as surface ships that could potentially go beneath the water for a few minutes. After the war experiments were completed to try and make subs better. As part of this the Albacore name was resurrected to create an aerodynamic boat with a rounded hull. Several versions were made trying to make the submarine a better ship to travel unnoticed in the water. It is the conical shaped ship that sits in the shipyard as a museum.

This submarine was decommissioned in 1972 and placed at the Inactive Ship Facility in Philadelphia. Later the Portsmouth City Council decided to get the ship back to its homeland, but it would take until 1985 for the ship to be dismantled and towed to Portsmouth. It took six months and many locks before the ship could be cradled in Albacore Park.

Visitors to the museum will begin their tour outside before going inside. At the entrance are a series of panels with push buttons to take the self guide audio tour. There are also eleven sites within the Albacore that narrate its story. The park is open from 9:30am to 5pm in summer and 4pm in winter. During summer the park is open seven days a week. In winter the days are Thursday through Monday. Adults are $5 and Children are $3. Children are considered 7 to 17, and anyone under 7 is free. There are also discounts for military and a family pack.

A gift shop is located at the visitor center for anyone wishing to bring home a souvenir. The submarine story is depicted in the visitor center where one can ask questions about the ship. The submarine is not in water, but sits on the land where it is possible to take photos of the outside and walk up to it to see how immense it actually is. The park provides a nice leisurely stroll in the sun along the Portsmouth harbor area.

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