When it reopens for tours Saturday after spending 2 ½ years undergoing restoration, the USS Constitution will offer visitors a window into the past as well as a connection to the Navy of today.
The ship known as “Old Ironsides” returned to the water July 23 for the first time since the restoration process began.
Crews have been putting the finishing touches on the inside of the Constitution since then, Petty Officer First Class Joshua Hammond said.
Now, visitors can once again board the ship free of charge. Everyone over the age of 18 must present a valid federal or state-issued photo ID or passport to board.
Officers on the ship are all active-duty sailors trained to answer questions about the modern-day Navy as well as its history, Hammond said.
“Our big selling point is the fact that we’re able to talk to the public about being an 18th-century sailor, so we bridge the gap between 1797 and the modern-day Navy,” he said.
The ship will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until Sept. 11, when it will close for the day. After that, hours of operation will be 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.
Hammond said half a million people visit the ship per year, and he estimated more than 2,500 will come on board Saturday for the reopening.
Visitors can also take a look at artifacts and interactive galleries by visiting the USS Constitution Museum at the Charlestown Navy Yard.