Season’s Eatings: Naval Holiday Meals


By Kelly Duffy, National Museum of the American Sailor Contract Curator

It’s that time of year again, where families and friends gather ‘round tables for delicious home-cooked meals made from recipes passed down through generations with an occasional new dish sprinkled in here and there. Continue reading

Navy Support for Native American Sailors in 1920

By Martin Tuohy, National Museum of the American Sailor Archivist

As a Navy recruit in training, Joseph LaPrairie stood out at Great Lakes Naval Training Station in January 1920. Among the young trainees, Joseph LaPrairie was older – 31 years old, almost the same age as the chief petty officer in charge of his company. LaPrairie came from Minnesota, a state rare for Navy enlistments. Continue reading

Navy Cooks: May the Packey Schwartz Be With You

By Therese Gonzalez, National Museum of the American Sailor Museum Specialist

It’s been said that the “way to a man’s heart is through his stomach” and for the United States Navy, that saying is certainly appropriate. Food builds not just bodies, but also morale. As stated in U.S. Navy and What It Offers, 1920, a “good cook is one of the most popular men aboard ship.” Continue reading

Double Duty

Hrbaczewski MedalA recent donation to NMAS revealed the curious case of Walter Joseph Hrbaczewski. Hrbaczewski joined the U.S. Naval Reserve in February, 1946 at age 17, getting his parents to sign him up as a minor. He completed boot camp at Great Lakes, Illinois and then attended service school in California. After six months on active duty, he became an inactive member of the Naval Reserve.

All was normal for Hrbaczewski for a few years.  But then things got weird.

Continue reading


The Navy is much more than a job; much more than service to country. It is a way of life. It gets in your blood.

– Albert Pratt, Assistant Secretary of the Navy, 1955

Welcome to the official blog for the National Museum of the American Sailor! Formerly the Great Lakes Naval Museum, the National Museum of the American Sailor’s mission is to collect, preserve, and interpret the history of the United States Navy’s Sailor for the benefit of the U.S. Navy and the people of the United States. The museum is located directly adjacent to the Main Gate of Naval Station Great Lakes, the home of the Navy’s only boot camp, in Great Lakes, Illinois.

To echo the above sentiments of Assistant Secretary of the Navy Albert Pratt, the Navy is in our blood as well! We view working here at the National Museum of the American Sailor as an honor and from collecting and preserving historic material to creating exhibits and educating visitors about the historic and continued importance of the American Sailor, this blog will allow us to further engage and educate visitors about the Navy way of life. Readers may look forward to artifact research blogs, education program articles, historical essays, and more.

The National Museum of the American Sailor is located in the historic Hostess House at Naval Station Great Lakes. Constructed in 1942 to serve as a gathering place for sailors and their families coming to Great Lakes for boot camp during World War II, the facility was designed by the prominent architect Gordon Bunshaft of the architectural firm Skidmore, Owings, and Merrill. NMAS is one of ten official Department of the Navy museums operated by the Naval History and Heritage Command. Current exhibits at the museum focus on the history of the Naval Station Great Lakes, Navy boot camp life, and the important role of women and minorities in the United States Navy since its earliest days.

Thank you for your interest in and support of the National Museum of the American Sailor and visit this page often for updates about the museum!

For information about the National Museum of the American Sailor visit our website and our Facebook page.