Although not all of the college in Newport, Rhode Island is accessible to guests, the portion that is can be incredibly educational and inspiring to visitors who want to learn more about naval history. With prior notice, guests can attend a lecture or even possibly tour the grounds - just make sure to bring a government issued ID. The US Naval War College is the oldest institution of its type, founded in 1884 by Stephen Luce, the Rear Admiral of the Navy at that time.
His foresight and leadership helped turn the base into a functioning college that has made the Navy into the force it is today. The campus building that is the most well-known, the Luce Hall, opened in 1982 and currently holds the library, classrooms, living quarters, and offices. It overlooks the bay. The college is also home to 50 different educational institutions, military commands, and services. Even though it has been around for more than 125 years, they are always focused on the future and how to best prepare the current staff as well as help lead future students and generations to success.
“Illuminating the Past” - An exhibit by Tom Freeman, a long-term loan from the US Navy National Museum, takes up the entire first floor of the art gallery. Tom Freeman was an artist (he died in 2015) that actually had no formal arts education. He specialized in watercolor, with a focus on maritime and naval themes. He did focus and frequent research on his subjects as well as having served in the United States Marine Corp (reserve) and Army personally. He also served as the very first resident artist for the United States Naval Institute, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Admin. He currently has pieces of art hanging not only at the museum, but also in The White House, at the memorial for the USS Arizona, the Royal Palace in Bahrain, and the Vatican.
“To Win or Lose All” - The second floor of the art gallery plays host to this exhibit, exploring what the Naval role in helping to secure victory in World War One for the allies. The exhibit focuses specifically on the role that Admiral William Sims had, in both land and sea. It seeks to educate visitors not only on who he and the sailors he directed were as military men, but also as human beings.
Visiting the base - Visitors to the naval base are free to enjoy the many lectures and events and spend time with any friends and family who serve there. However, guests must be aware that this is a working, secure naval base so in most cases they must be “sponsored” by a current servicemember and follow the guidelines. They will be required to fill out a request form called “Gate Access” from the Naval War College Intranet, which will allow them visitor access to the base. They will then have to go through the security protocol to receive a visitor badge, followed by actually signed in at the gate.
Tours - Occasionally, tours will be provided for groups (on request). Mainly, however, groups must have some sort of academic or professional tie to the college/base. Requests will all need to be submitted through the base, with group name, number of visitors and their names, and what the interest in the visit is. They will be approved on a case by case basis.
The many staff members at the naval college who host a variety of special events including lectures, conferences, and various symposia. All events are by invitation only. Some of the topics covered by the events in the past have focused on national security, lectures with various well-known national foreign policy, security, and military defense experts. Every other year, the college also hosts the ISS (International Seapower Symposia), focusing on how to better further the national security with a focus on maritime issues. There is also frequent strategy based forums, hosted by the Secretary of the Navy, and held as roundtable style discussions with a number of prominent military as well as civilian guests. These each have themes and are invitation only.
One other special event offering at the college are the evening lectures, which are hosted weekday evenings from August through June. These are open to the public whenever possible, however (due to national security) guests must pre-register more than 7 working days before and bring a government ID with them to be admitted. Contact the college for additional information.
Naval War College, 686 Cushing Road, Newport, RI, 02841-1207, Phone: 401-841-1310