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Battleship Wisconsin Exhibits

Ship Experience Access Room (SEAR)

Through a partnership with IPConfigure, Inc., Axis Communications & Scansource, the Nauticus Foundation officially opened the Ship Experience Access Room (SEAR) on December 7, 2018. The SEAR was developed for visitors that want to experience the Battleship Wisconsin, but are unable to physically take the tour. Built in the former Administrative Office of the Wisconsin, the SEAR creates a virtual tour of the ship through the use of video surveillance equipment. Wisconsin is the only museum ship in the world that has this available to guests of the ship.

Designed to mimic a control center, the room is equipped with four, high resolution monitors with individual access to IPConfigure’s video surveillance management software, Orchid Fusion. Visitors are able to sit at a station and create their own tour of the Wisconsin as they navigate through the software.

“With 20 cameras online, IPConfigure has opened up almost 10,000 sq. ft of space to about 20 percent of visitors that simply can’t navigate ladder stairs down three decks and back up”, said Clayton Allen, Battleship operations manager.

The project kicked off in 2017 when IPConfigure invited partners throughout the surveillance industry to Norfolk to assist with the system installation. The team configured dozens of cameras, switches, servers, monitors and pulled over 10,000 feet of network cables. They set up all the equipment to work seamlessly with IPConfigure’s Orchid Fusion video management software

“This project gave IPConfigure an opportunity to contribute to the Battleship Wisconsin in an unconventional way. It provides a unique opportunity for curators to provide access to visitors who otherwise wouldn’t be able to experience this historic ship. We’re proud to give back to our local community, veterans and visitors from around the world,” said Christopher Uiterwyk, president and CEO of IPConfigure.

With the official opening to the public, the Ship Experience Access Room is able to honor the history and preservation of the Battlefield Wisconsin, and enable more visitors to experience one of the last battleships built by the U.S. Navy.

“It is wonderful to be able to bring all generations on board to view the working and living spaces of a Navy sailor,” said Dustin Uhl, senior exhibit manager of Nauticus.

CPO Mess, Berthing & Lounge

“The Goat Locker”

The CPO Mess is referred to as “The Goat Locker”. During the days of sail and beyond until refrigeration existed, animals were brought onboard ships, chickens, ox, cow and goats, for meat, eggs and milk respectively. Goats are the only one that faired well with shipboard life. Ox and cow were prone to scurvy and chickens needed fair weather to thrive. After the CPO rank was started in 1893, the goats were phased out but the older ships in the steel fleet still had the storage space or ”locker” for the goats. The CPO needed a space all their own to be separate from the other enlisted so they moved into the area for the goats. The name “Goat Locker” stuck and “old goats” are a nickname given to the Chiefs.

The Navy Chief is not only a rank but it is a fellowship and way of life.

The rank of E-7, Chief Petty Officer, is not only reached by time in service and passing the required testing and superior evaluation scores. Unlike the other branches of service, the Chief is selected by his or her peers. If they cant get that selection by peers, they cannot be promoted. A Selectee can only be advanced after passing a board of review by already frocked Chiefs, a “choosing of their own”.


Navy Chief Backbone of the Navy

AT the end of World War II, all the towns and cities across the country were looking for a “Home town boy makes good” person to celebrate the victory with. Los Angeles chose Admiral Halsey, whom it was rumored had done quite well. The ceremony was held on the steps of the LA county courthouse, and at the end of it when Halsey was leaving, they had a line of sideboys. They were active duty and retired Chief Petty Officers that had been brought in from all over the country. As he walked through the ranks, my uncle walked apace on the outside. As Halsey approached one old CPO that my uncle described as being older than God, my uncle saw them wink at each other. Later, at a cocktail party, my uncle had the opportunity to have a chat with the great Admiral. He commented on the wink between Halsey and this old Chief, and asked Halsey if he would mind explaining it. Halsey looked at me uncle very seriously, and said this: ” That man was my Chief when I was an Ensign, and no one before or after taught me as much about ships or men as he did. You civilians don’t understand. You go down to Long Beach, and you see those battleships sitting there, and you think that they float on the water, don’t you? My uncle replied, “Yes sir, I guess they do”. You are wrong, replied Halsey; they are carried to sea on the backs of those Chief Petty Officers!

A Navy Chief is a true leader, tasked with training junior enlisted in their rates as well as being a parental figure to new Sailors away from home as well as guiding and training Junior officers to become the Navy’s future leaders.

Frontline leader of the entire enlisted ranks and bridge the gap between enlisted and officers.

Additional Exhibits

Medical Spaces

Visitors can view the hospital, including the lab, X-ray area, surgery, pharmacy, main ward, doctor’s office and other areas where crew members received medical services.

Explore the Chief’s Mess, where the ship’s officers socialized and ate; and the Gedunk, the ship canteen frequented daily by the crew.

Housekeeping areas

Inside the scullery (dish washing rooms); and laundry, with its massive washers and dryers and separate pressing room.

City at sea areas

See the Ship’s Store,
Barber Shop, and Library.


Yes, there was one on the ship where onboard offenders were temporarily confined.

Battleship Wisconsin Model

Replica model on display, located on the 2nd floor as guest head out to visit the Battleship Wisconsin.
Model donated by Keith Mullen.