The Naval Academy Art Collection contains more than 1200 paintings and pieces of sculpture representing the work of many notable artists. Among the artists whose works are represented in the collection are Michel F. Corné, Robert Salmon, Edward Savage, Gilbert Stuart, John Wesley Jarvis, Thomas Sully, N.C. Wyeth, and the sculptors Jean Antoine Houdon and Felix DeWeldon. The subjects are primarily naval ships, battles, and portraits. Often the paintings are contemporary with the ships or events that they depict, which adds historical interest to their artistic value.
When the Brooklyn Naval Lyceum and the Boston Naval Library and Institute were disbanded in 1888 and 1921 respectively, their accessions were donated to the Naval Academy and formed the nucleus of the present Museum Collection. Another notable collection, presented to the Naval Academy in 1940, is the thirteen Historical Marine Paintings of Edward Moran, some of which can be seen on the first deck of the Museum.