Progress Report

 

OUR NEW MUSEUM AND SMALL STORES ARE NOW OPEN

On May 30th 2015 the Museum and Small Stores opened for business.

 

 

This was a vision that began in February 2008, when New Boston, the developer of the Gateway Projects at Quonset, generously offered to match the first $50,000 raised. In addition, New Boston contributed $20,000 in landscaping and other improvements to the park.

Matching funds were soon raised and a new "K Span" arch steel building, a "modern Quonset hut", 102-feet in width and 65-feet deep with a 24-foot center height was purchased from Powerbuilt Steel Buildings.

A K Span building was chosen since Quonset Point, the original home of the US Navy Seabees and the home of the Seabee Museum and Memorial park, is also the place where the famous round top buildings that have been closely associated with the Seabees since WW-II were originally designed and manufactured.

For two years the unassembled building has been at the museum awaiting final permits and a foundation. Permits are in hand and in the summer of 2012 the foundation was dug and the "shell" of the new building went up in the fall and interior finishing will commence.

This new building is the "crown jewel' of an idea that began when land for a museum at Quonset Point was leased from the state of Rhode Island. The initial funding to create the park in 2002 was a $329,000 Department of Defense Grant for Navy Reserve that brought personnel to train at the site. They joined Seabee veterans and volunteers to clear the acreage and begin the creation of today's Seabee Museum and memorial Park
Historic Quonset huts were located at Quonset Point and around New England. they were disassembly, moved to the park site and re-assembled to create a unique open air Quonset Hut museum. The seven Quonset huts on the property have been repainted in a vintage camouflage pattern. While not historically accurate, it lend the Seabee Museum and Memorial Park and unmistakable military look.

The iconic Gate Seabee was saved from demolition and moved a few hundred yards to the north east onto the park property. Over the next decade sewers we extended into the park along with new water lines. The front of the property was extensively landscaped with a new lawn, trees and dozens of shrubs. A sidewalk now connects a handicapped accessible parking lot to an all-weather 15-foot informational kiosk that explains the historical significance of the park. From there the walkway takes visitors to our Small Store.

In 2008 the property was dedicated to the vision of Seabee Veterans of America, Island X-1 and a marker stone was installed.

Also on the property is the 1960-era slab concrete roof, Seabee-built Chapel in the Pines. This is one of the most unusual buildings in the world. The exterior walls have been stabilized and repainted and we have replacement pews. The interior needs to be painted and new flooring installed.

The WW-II, Korea and Vietnam era Seabee veterans who have given their time and talent to make the Seabee Museum and Memorial Park a reality wanted to make sure that future generations remembered the sacrifices of today's Seabees. The first monument to the fallen Seabees of the Gulf Wars was dedicated in the summer of 2009. A memorial wall with plaques for each of the fallen Seabees is centered by a flagpole that came from the last Navy Seabee administrative building at the Quonset base.

The Seabee Museum and Memorial Park now serves as the home of one of the premier historic military sites in Rhode Island, a place where former Seabees can demonstrate and preserve the "Can Do" spirit and  recognize the past, present and future contributions of the US Navy Seabees..

FUTURE PLANS…

Our future plans include completing the chapel renovation, restoration of vintage Seabee and construction equipment, and expansion of the equipment and memorabilia displays.

In 1942 Davisville Rhode Island became the Original Home of the Seabees. We need your help and support to preserve the rich Seabee heritage that started in Rhode Island and is now known worldwide.

To find out more about helping the Seabee Museum and Memorial Park -- see our Donations page.