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USS Hornet Museum Alameda CA

USS Hornet Museum Alameda CA

The USS Hornet museum can be found on the southernmost pier of the old naval air station and is one of several Smithsonian institutions that belong to its family of museums.

This ship, designated a National Historic Landmark by Congress in 1987, was used during both WWII and Apollo 11’s recovery mission. A docent-led tour can take visitors through various areas of this historic vessel.


The USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum can be found at the southernmost pier of former Naval Air Station Alameda and features vintage aircraft as well as interactive exhibits that allow visitors to connect with history in an engaging and meaningful manner. Furthermore, educational programs allow students to experience what it was like living aboard this legendary vessel during its history.

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The Hornet is an iconic aircraft carrier with an impressive history. Commissioned in 1943 and serving in the Pacific theater of World War II, she is best remembered for taking part in the Doolittle Raid against Tokyo as part of retaliation for Pearl Harbor attacks; moreover she played a vital role in recovering astronauts upon their return from space missions through Apollo program recovery operations.

She had been mothballed since 1970 and scheduled for scrap sale in 1995 when it was saved from further deterioration by former crew members banding together to form the Aircraft Carrier Hornet Foundation and raise startup funds to restore it for public service; and was officially reopened as a museum in 1998.

Volunteers working to restore the museum were committed to maintaining historical accuracy as much as possible when reconstructing it, with main areas like Flight Deck, Hangar Deck and Island areas restored back to their condition prior to decommissioning, plus portions of Captain’s Bridge and Officers’ Wardroom restored as feasible. 

Furthermore, restoration work included cleaning, painting and repairing areas onboard as well as electricity being reinstated in some instances.

The USS Hornet Museum stands as a living tribute to those who served aboard her decks, honoring their courage with an educational experience open to all ages and designed to educate and invigorate young minds in terms of past challenges and possible future prospects. 

Visitors interested in visiting can either self-guide their tour or join one of several docent-led tours; please note some tours involve climbing steep stairways so please wear comfortable footwear with nonskid soles for best results.


The Hornet Museum is an impressive piece of military history. With engaging exhibits that are both informative and fun, tours, special events, retired aircraft from their collection, dedicated staff and volunteers maintain this gem of military history, all year-round special events are hosted here that provide visitors with insight into aviation and US Navy history. 

The Hornet Museum boasts some impressive restoration efforts over time as its staff worked to restore every inch of this ship (including its flight deck!) before adding new rooms & hosting special events throughout the year that serve to educate guests about aviation’s history & US Navy history through these special events!

This museum boasts an impressive collection of aircraft from different eras and periods, such as propeller-driven planes and jets. Additionally, they house numerous helicopters dating back to WWII while others may be more modern. 

Furthermore, there’s an artifact collection dedicated to honoring Nisei veterans of World War II; plus this museum works closely with other institutions to expand knowledge and inspire learning. This Smithsonian Affiliate also collaborates closely with other institutions to expand learning.

In 2019, the USS Hornet Sea, Air, and Space Museum will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11’s Moon landing with a major event: visitors can witness some of the largest remaining artifacts associated with this mission such as Gemini boilerplate MSC-307, Apollo test command module CM-011, Mobile Quarantine Facility from Apollo 14, as well as many others directly linked with Gemini Boilplate MSC-307 or Apollo Test Command Module CM-0111 at their museum exhibits. 

This milestone event promises to make quite an impressionful statement to visitors from both national and international media alike! 

Visitors at USS Hornet Sea, Air & Space Museum can witness history first-hand when this monumental milestone commemorates 50th Anniversary of Gemini Boilplate MSC-307 is displayed alongside Apollo Test Command Module CM-0111 for viewing, in 2019 which marks this historic event – Gemini Boilplate MSC-307 for Gemini Boilplate MSC-307 as well as Mobile Quarantine Facility from Apollo 14.

The museum features numerous other notable artifacts that highlight the remarkable history of the United States Navy, such as TA-4J trainer aircraft – which pioneered supersonic carrier-based jet fighting – and an MH-6M maritime utility helicopter. There’s even a Blue Jacket Family Activity Room designed specifically to keep children entertained and allow them to try on uniforms!

The Hornet Museum welcomes public tours daily. Led by knowledgeable docents who can answer your questions and explain each area of this aircraft carrier, guests can explore all parts of it and special tours are offered for groups of 15 or more. Tickets can be purchased on site; those receiving food assistance qualify for reduced admission through Museums for All program.


The USS Hornet Museum is a beloved historic attraction for visitors of all ages, offering stunning bay views from its flight deck, entertaining tours and exhibits, and ideal space for hosting corporate or family gatherings.

The Hornet is one of the few remaining artifacts associated directly with Apollo moon exploration missions and was used to rescue astronauts after landing on the Moon. Additionally, its military history includes service in World War II and Vietnam as well as being instrumental in shaping space race as an aircraft carrier.

Visitors can explore 14 levels and decks of the ship, featuring restored spaces and museum rooms as well as docent-led tours spanning from its depths in Number 2 fireroom all the way up to Primary Flight Control five levels above its flight deck.

Visitors to the ship can also experience it themselves using self-guided audio tours, giving them an independent way to explore and gain insights into its historical role.

New program gives children the chance to experience virtual flight aboard the Hornet and be naval pilot for a day, costing $2 per child and available only during weekends and school holidays.

The USS Hornet, one of the most decorated ships in naval history, is registered as a National Historic Landmark and decommissioned in 1970 before becoming registered as a historic landmark in 1998. 

First seen fighting during World War II to liberate Philippines and participate in naval battles around Pacific Islands; after war it continued searching for submarines and protecting airspace before playing an integral role in space race activities involving recovery of Apollo 11 and 12 astronauts. Decommissioned and registered as historic landmark in 1998

Visits to the USS Hornet are an enjoyable and educational way of experiencing part of our nation’s past, providing an unforgettable experience for you and your family. 

Be sure to plan to spend enough time on your visit, and sign up for one of the docent-led tours as this can give you access to parts of the ship normally off limits and will allow for enhanced interaction between visitor and docent alike. The tours don’t cost too much either and provide access to previously unknown areas of the vessel.


Within 30 minutes of San Francisco lies the USS Hornet Sea, Air and Space Museum: an aircraft carrier which has played an essential role in two significant moments in 20th-century history. Designated a National Historical Landmark and one of the most decorated ships in US Navy service. This museum serves as an invaluable resource to gain knowledge on naval aviation history as it helps shape our world today.

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The USS Hornet Museum is an exceptional ship that provides visitors with an experience back into time and gives an insight into naval technology. Featuring displays from NASA Apollo moon exploration missions as well as retired aircraft from transonic and early supersonic jet propulsion periods. As a Smithsonian Affiliate, its collection will surely spark curiosity and encourage learning among both adults and children.

This museum ship welcomes visitors all year long and provides a variety of activities and tours, from touring the flight deck to venturing deep within Number 2 fireroom – visitors can explore 14 levels and decks on board this unique vessel, some closed-off to visitors while most available for self-guided or docent-led tours.

Hornet was one of the Essex-class aircraft carriers used during World War II, coming home at the end of her service and being modified for jet flight operations (although she never received steam catapults to increase strike capabilities). She eventually reached retirement status in 1968.

The USS Hornet Museum is a Smithsonian affiliate, and membership allows free admission at other Smithsonian Affiliate museums throughout the U.S. This can help maximize your visit and save money on event tickets and gift store purchases!


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