Website Review

Naval History and Heritage Command

The Navy Archives was officially established in 1882 as a central repository for naval operations records during the Civil War, however the majority of the collection is comprised of post-WWII documents, photographs, and other artifacts that include unit histories, ships’ deck logs, and deployment records, and more. Since then, the archives have expanded the scope and purpose of their mission "to collect, organize, preserve, protect, and make available select permanent official records and other historically significant documents of the [U.S.] Navy." In the context of the U.S. global involvement the archives also host a wide range of records related to international affairs, immigration, and worldwide navy operations. Among the archive's digital collections users can find oral histories, biographies, underwater archeology resources, and infographics.

In the topics that can be explored the user can find specific historical events like the Spanish-American War of 1898 through sources like ship depictions, biographies and pictures of naval leaders, war plans, timelines, and event links to motion pictures from the Library of Congress. Another area of study that is supported by the archive is diversity in the U.S. Navy. In this section they address the contributions and participation of African-Americans, Women, Asian-Americans, Hispanic-Americans, Native-Americans, and member of the LGBTQ+ community in the Navy. For this purpose, they offer sources like service records, biographies, oral histories, photographs, infographics, and supplementary reading resources. This type of sources lend themselves for classroom activities related to representation and diversity, identity, and cultural awareness.

The site supports the physical and digital archives, but all sources listed on the site provide complete records and descriptions. The search function returns all sources related to the topic; however, the advance search options can delimit the scope by date, format, document type, and location (online or physical archives).  Additionally, the Naval History and Heritage Command provides two other excellent sources, The Sextant and Navy History Matters blogs where they analyze particular topics and compile articles, commentaries, and sources on history and heritage that can guide an in-depth exploration of the subjects covered in the blogs. The site also offers guidance related to reference and citation information, especially in regards to particular documents that are protected by copyright laws. In general, this platform is user-friendly and their subject matter approach aids with the linkage of topics and a multiplicity of sources.

Reviewed by Luz Adriana Giraldo Mueller, George Mason University

How to Cite This Source

"Naval History and Heritage Command," in in World History Commons, [accessed May 27, 2024]
Oil canvas depiction of the USS Constitution engaged in at sea combat with the HMS Guerriere. The USS Constitution's white sails have impact holes while the HMS Guerriere has heavy damage to the mast and sails.
“Among the archive's digital collections users can find oral histories, biographies, underwater archeology resources, and infographics.”