With the Constitution in dry dock from 2015 through 2018, the museum is even more important in helping visitors experience the early days of the U.S. Navy. In the first-floor galleries, visitors can watch a 19-minute video and learn more about the Constitution’s history, perhaps with help from an interactive computer display or one of the staff members and volunteers who answer questions and give brief, informative talks. The second floor is where the action is: The exhibit “All Hands on Deck: A Sailor’s Life in 1812” is an interactive delight, especially for kids. Visitors learn about working the lines that control a frigate’s sails, firing a cannon, and even relaxing in a hammock (that one’s pretty self-explanatory). Allow at least an hour to explore the timelines, try the hands-on activities, and check out the fascinating artifacts, including gorgeous model ships.
To continue on the Freedom Trail: Follow the trail up Constitution Road, crossing Chelsea Street, and continue to the Bunker Hill Monument. A more interesting, slightly longer route runs from Chelsea Street and Rutherford Avenue (back where you entered Charlestown) across City Square Park and up Main Street to Monument Street.