Arming a Navy: The Naval Gun Factory and Its Local Workforce – Preservation Cafe

Posted on September 22nd, 2021 by Elizabeth Nelson

Arming a Navy: The Naval Gun Factory and Its Local Workforce, a virtual Preservation Cafe, will be presented by Edward Valentin, a Historian and Curator of the National Museum of the United States Navy, Wednesday, March 16, 2022, 6:30 pm.The Washington Navy Yard, the Navy’s oldest shore establishment, has supported U.S. naval operations since 1799. The establishment of the U.S. Naval Gun Factory at the Washington Navy Yard in 1886 dramatically shifted the base’s mission from ship repair to ordnance production, but the Yard continued to rely heavily on nearby D.C. neighborhoods like the Capitol Hill District, Barney Circle, Anacostia, and Fairlawn to supply its workforce. From 1886 until its closure in 1961, the Naval Gun Factory was one of the largest employers in Washington D.C., employing thousands of people from a diverse array of backgrounds, including European immigrants, women, and Black Americans. The Washington Navy Yard owes much of its 200-plus years of success to the contributions of D.C. neighborhoods. 

During our CHRS Preservation Cafe on March 16, Dr. Edward Valentin will discuss one of the museum’s newest temporary exhibits, “Arming a New Navy: The Naval Gun Factory and Its Local Workforce.” He will discuss the history of Building 76 in the Washington Navy Yard, the home of the National Museum of the United States Navy. He will describe the operations of the factory and provide a window into the experiences of the factory’s diverse workforce.

A WebEx link will be posted below and activated shortly before the meeting.

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