© Brownie Harris



History Museum

Street Address:
1 Battleship Road
Wilmington, NC 28401

Telephone: 910.399.9100





Under typical circumstances, the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA is open every day of the year, including all holidays, as the Ship serves as a memorial.  On Christmas Day the Ship opens at noon. 

No advance reservations are required. Tickets are sold on site at the Battleship.

Ticket Sales

8:00 am – 4:00 pm until further notice.  Ship closes at 5:00 pm.

The tour is self-guided and is well-marked so that you can tour at your own pace.  We recommend allowing at least two hours for the tour, but for the true enthusiast, you can spend much more time than that.  Click here for Guided Tours. 


Adults: 12 & over: $14.00*
Seniors: 65 & over: $10.00*
Military: Active or retired, military spouses & dependents, with ID cards: $10.00*
Children: 6 through 11: $6.00*
Children: 5 & under: Free

Friends of the Battleship Members: Free

*Plus Tax

Ticket sales end one hour before closing.  Click here for details on policies regarding cancellations and refunds.

The Battleship gladly accepts cash, VISA, MasterCard or Discover.  It does not accept personal checks.  It does not accept  cash at this time. 


For groups of 10 or more visitors paying by a single source, the per-person group rates are as follows:

Adults: 12 & over: $10.00*
Children: 6-11: $5.00*
Children: 5 & under: Free

*Plus Tax

Groups are encouraged to make reservations to ensure receiving the discounted rate. To make a reservation or to receive more information, please call 910-399-9101.


If assistance is required, 1 accompanying adult is admitted free with each ADA admission. These prices apply to visitors arriving as part of groups or as individuals.

Adults: 12 & over: $6.00*
Children: 6-11: $3.00*
Children: 5 & under: Free

*Plus Tax

uss north carolina battleship


World War II was called “the good war“ – the war of good versus evil. But while the United States and its Allies were victorious, that victory was bitter-sweet.  The USS NORTH CAROLINA (BB-55), 1941-1961, played an important role.

Aerial Video © Lifted.Pictures


The price of freedom was high. No one knows exactly how many were killed, wounded or missing between September 1939 and September 1945, but death toll estimates ranged upwardly to 22 million. Financial costs exceeded one trillion dollars. (The United States spent about $250 million per day on the War – ten times the amount it had spent on all its previous wars put together.) Property damage estimates exceeded $239 trillion. The war involved 50 countries, and its effects were felt by all nations.

The War’s battlefields spanned the globe. Major battles occurred on the soils of Asia, Europe and Africa, as well as on the waters of the Atlantic, Pacific and Mediterranean. Men died in the jungles of Pacific islands, in the hills of China, in the deserts of Libya, and on the plains of France.

World War II, the most destructive war in history, began on September 1, 1939 with the invasion of Poland by Germany. The war ended on September 2, 1945 with Japan’s surrender after the atomic bomb drops on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and exactly three years eight months, and twenty-two days after Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.


September 2, 1945 marked the end of World War II.  President Harry Truman proclaimed it VJ (Victory Over Japan) Day.

In 1995, the USS NORTH CAROLINA Battleship Memorial, located in Wilmington, North Carolina was selected as one of five designated host sites for the United States’ observance of the fiftieth anniversary of VJ Day.  It is a fitting honor in that the USS NORTH CAROLINA was the most decorated United States Battleship of World War II; and today is a State memorial to the veterans of that War, enshrined with the names of over 10,000 North Carolinians from all branches of military service who gave their lives.

Each VJ Day Observance is a time to pause and reflect, a time to rejoice, a time to give thanks for the blessing of freedom, a time to honor our veterans and a tie to remember their fallen comrades.

uss carolina

© Brownie Harris



From her keel (backbone) to the crow’s nest, the USS NORTH CAROLINA is nearly 200 feet high or about the height of a 14-story building. From bow to stern, she is more than 728 feet long or nearly the length of two and one-half city blocks.  Her width is 108 feet.

It took six years from the authorization to build the USS NORTH CAROLINA until she was “Pacific bound.” Authorization to build her, along with her sister ship, the USS WASHINGTON, was contained in an act of Congress passed June 3, 1936. Prior to her construction, the Brooklyn Navy Yard had to be expanded and reinforced.  The keel of BB55, the USS NORTH CAROLINA, was laid on October 27, 1937. It was the first new battleship keel to be laid by the United States Navy in 16 years.

It took hundreds of workmen almost four years to construct her. She is built of thousands of tons of steel and displaces over 40,000 tons when loaded.

While she was under construction, World War II commenced. She was launched on June 13, 1940, and commissioned on April 9, 1941 under the command of Captain Olaf. M. Hustvedt.

uss nc bb 55

USS NORTH CAROLINA fires her after 40.6 cm/45 guns during her shakedown cruise,
June 1941. © U.S. Navy


When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, the Battleship NC was in New York.  Training was accelerated and on June 5, 1942, she was “Pacific bound.”  She spend 40 months in combat, and according to the Japanese propaganda broadcaster “Tokyo Rose,” was sunk six different times.

Truth is, the USS NORTH CAROLINA steamed 307,000 miles during her wartime duty, consuming more than two million gallons of fuel. She was a mighty ship. Her powerful guns could send a 2,700 pound shell through the air for more than twenty miles.

nc battleship

USS NECHES (AO-47) refueling USS NORTH CAROLINA in the mid-Pacific Ocean,
November 30, 1944. © U.S. Navy

She distinguished herself in the Pacific Theater of World War II by engaging in every major campaign from the time of her arrival at Pearl Harbor in July of 1942 until the war’s end. She fought from Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands through the Gilberts, Marshalls, Carolines, New Guinea and the Marianas; the Philippines, Iwo Jima and Okinawa; to Japan and to victory in Tokyo Bay. She earned fifteen battlestars – more than any other United States battleship.

uss north carolina

USS NORTH CAROLINA firing a salvo at a land target during the Battle of Okinawa,
April-June, 1945. © U.S. Navy

During World War II, the USS NORTH CAROLINA survived a torpedo hit on September 15, 1942 and a typhoon on December 18, 1944. In September 1961, she was saved from the scrap metal dealers thanks to the citizens of North Carolina.


Nearly 2,000 officers and men, including a detachment of United States Marines, were needed to run the sophisticated and complicated equipment aboard  the USS NORTH CAROLINA. The men were divided into 22 departments and either were directly involved in warfare, or worked in a support capacity to keep the mini-city afloat.  See the many WWII naval combat artifacts on the ship.

uss north carolina battleship plane


“Save Our Ship” became the cry of North Carolinians when the United States Navy announced its intention to scrap the USS NORTH CAROLINA in 1961.

Saving the ship as a State war memorial became a reality thanks to the visionary leadership of James S. Craig, Jr., then Governor Luther H. Hodges, the

USS NORTH CAROLINA Battleship Advisory Committee, Governor Terry Sanford and Hugh Morton coupled with the $330,000 donated by the citizens of North Carolina.

The ship was towed down the East Coast from Bayonne to the Cape Fear River, was moored at her present berth on October 2, 1961 and was dedicated as a State war memorial on April 29, 1962.

President Harry S. Truman

The following is a quote from President Harry S. Truman in his address to the Armed Forces of the United States throughout the world over the Armed Forces Radio Service and major networks on April 17, 1945.  President Truman spoke at 10 p.m. from the White House.

“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid.  They have earned our undying gratitude.  America will never forget their sacrifices.”

uss north carolina (bb-55)

Thank You to all who served on the USS NORTH CAROLINA.

Showboat Podcasts

Prepare your family for the visit by listening to the battleship podcasts and reviewing the historic photographs and summaries prepared by the U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command:

Key Events in World War II

September 1, 1939
Germany invades Poland.

September 17, 1939
Soviet Union invades Poland.

May 10, 1940
Germany launches attack against Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, and France.

August 13, 1940
Germany launches attack against Britain.

June 22, 1941
Germany invades the Soviet Union.

December 7, 1941
Japan, allied with Germany, attacks the United States at Pearl Harbor.

December 8, 1941
U.S. and Britain declare war on Japan.

June 7, 1942
U.S. defeats Japan in the Battle of Midway.

February 2, 1943
Soviet Union defeats Germany in the Battle of Stalingrad.

June 6, 1944
D-Day, Operation Overlord, General Eisenhower commanded the Allies’ attack against German occupation along the coast of Normandy, France.

August 25, 1944
Allies defeat Germany and liberate France.

April 30, 1945
Soviet Union captures the city of Berlin, Germany.

May 8, 1945
Germany surrenders ending the war in Europe.

September 2, 1945
Japan surrenders ending the war in the Pacific and World War II.

uss nc main batteries firing

USS NORTH CAROLINA firing her main batteries during
World War II,
date unknown. © U.S. Navy

uss north carolina in hawaiian islands

USS NORTH CAROLINA at sea in the Hawaiian Islands area,
March 1943. © U.S. Navy

battleship nc launched at new york navy yard

USS NORTH CAROLINA launched at the New York Navy Yard,
June 1940. © U.S. Navy

USA TODAY named the USS NORTH CAROLINA one of the Top 10 “Best North Carolina Attractions.”

The Battleship NORTH CAROLINA is a top tourist destination.  Don’t miss it.