Press Release  


“A History of the Navy in 100 Objects”

Posted on: February 25, 2013 08:00 EST

Press Release #: 014-13

ANNAPOLIS, Md. – “A History of the Navy in 100 Objects” premieres today on the Naval Academy website at The series is the brainchild of Naval Academy Class of 2012 graduate Ensign Chris O’Keefe who developed it during his First Class (senior) year at the academy.

O’Keefe modeled his “History of the Navy in 100 Objects” after the BBC’s “A History of the World in 100 Objects.” It was while listening to the BBC podcasts that he realized that the Navy didn’t have a similar series about its history and heritage and decided to produce his own.

In his spare time, O’Keefe set about identifying objects in the Naval Academy collections to develop the series, and identified and interviewed experts from the Naval Academy, the Naval Institute and elsewhere about the objects. Navy leaders such as Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Commandant of the Marine Corps James Amos, and former Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz provided commentary for the series.

Twice a week, for the next 50 weeks, a new podcast will be released. The first is about the crypt of John Paul Jones. Jones is considered by many to be the founder of the American Navy, and this podcast discusses his contributions to history. Future object podcasts will include the Momsen Lung, deck and hull plates from USS Monitor and CSS Virginia, and a Pearl Harbor bomb arming vane. All of the objects used in the project are located at the Naval Academy, either in the museum, the Archives and Special Collections of Nimitz Library or, like Jones’ crypt, on the grounds of the academy.

O’Keefe graduated from the Naval Academy and was commissioned a Navy Ensign May 29, 2012. He is stationed in Mayport, Fla. and in his spare time is finishing his “History of the Navy in 100 Objects.”

Lt. Cmdr. Claude Berube, interim director of the Naval Academy Museum, served as O’Keefe’s mentor for the project. When asked about O’Keefe he responded, “Ensign O'Keefe's intellectual curiosity, vision and commitment to this project will make a significant contribution to the public's understanding about our naval history and heritage."

Thanks to a collaboration with the academy’s languages and cultures department, May 1 the Naval Academy Museum will launch an Audio Tour for International Visitors. Descriptions of 30 of the 100 Objects, translated and read by current midshipmen, will be available in French, Spanish and Arabic through QR codes. Plans are in place to expand to Russian, German, Japanese, and Mandarin next year. 

Further information about the Naval Academy Museum may be found at or on their Facebook page. Further information about the Naval Academy may be found at or on our Facebook page.


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