Naval War College Museum Announces New Exhibit “Crossing the Line”
14 June 2016
CONTACT: John Pentangelo, Managing Director/Naval War College Museum
The exhibit runs from 13 June to 30 December 2016
NEWPORT, RI— The Naval War College Museum is now hosting a new exhibit, “Crossing the Line: Unofficial U.S. Navy Traditions,” featuring twenty –seven certificates on loan from the Puget Sound Navy Museum, the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum, and the Naval War College’s Naval Historical Collection. The exhibit, created by the Puget Sound Navy Museum, occupies the museum’s temporary exhibit gallery on the second floor and will be on display until 30 December 2016. 
“Crossing the Line” is a term used when sailors cross the Equator; however, sailors participate in many other unofficial U.S. Navy traditions when they sail into distant waters for the first time during their naval service. The ceremony serves to instill a sense of camaraderie among the crew. “The crossing the line ceremony is secretive. It is rarely photographed; it is a bonding experience and a rite of passage for the crew,” explains Walter Nicolds, museum collections manger and Navy veteran, whose certificate for crossing the Suez Canal can be seen in the exhibit. The initiated receive decorative certificates filled with salty language and drawings of mermaids, tridents, anchors, and dragons to document what they accomplished on their journey. The certificates on display in this exhibit, dating from 1908 to the present, commemorate the crossing of the equator, as well as other significant crossings such as the Arctic Circle, the International Date Line, and the Panama and Suez Canals.
You can find out what’s new at the Naval War College Museum on Facebook and by following their blog – Soundings in Narragansett Bay’s Naval History. One of nine official Department of the Navy Museums, the Naval War College Museum collects, preserves, and exhibits artifacts and documents dating from the 1500s to the present day to interpret the naval history of Narragansett Bay, the Naval War College, and the history of naval strategy. Located in the historic Founders Hall built in 1820, the museum is open to the public although advance reservations are required. For more information, visit or call 401-841-4052.
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