Project Support

The following projects are underway or in the planning stages.  Your support for these efforts is greatly appreciated. Contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.

USS Constellation Rigging Restoration and Repair Project

USS Constellation Education and Heritage Center Project

USS Constellation Rigging Restoration and Repair Project

In the fall of 2014, prior to the 4-month dry docking of USS Constellation, the upper rigging and fighting top platforms of the ship were removed for repair and/or replacement at Cianbro Construction on Curtis Bay in Baltimore.  After the dry docking the spars and rigging received considerable attention which included

replacement of the ship’s main yard – 90 feet long and 2 feet in diameter and replacement of  the fore tops’l yard.   Also replaced were all three fighting top platforms.  The rest of the masts, yards and associated running and standing rigging were repaired and received protective coatings.

In December of 2015, Constellation was returned to Cianbro to have the spars re-stepped and yards crossed.  The entire job took just 18 days working 12 hours per day - all available daylight and even into the evening.  We had the ship back in her berth for the busy Christmas week.  Thanks VERY much to the team at Cianbro for supporting this project.  


Remaining to be done is the final set-up of the rigging which supports the top and t'gallant masts and the running of the forward most stays and whisker stays to the jibboom.  This will require the assistance of professional riggers and we anticipate this being completed by the spring of 2017.


This project is supported in part by a $89,596 grant from the National Park Service’s Maritime Heritage Grant Program.  Total project costs are estimated at $250,000.  Additional contributions to this project are welcome and gratefully appreciated.  Project completion is currently scheduled for June of 2017. 

Donate to USS Constellation Rigging Repair


USS Constellation Billethead Project

Shipbuilders sometimes made billetheads, or scrollheads, instead of figureheads to decorate a ship's bow. A billethead had a downturned scroll; a fiddlehead had an upturned scroll. Popular billethead and fiddlehead designs included volutes, leaves, and rosettes.USS Constellation is adorned with a billethead.  As far as we know, the billethead on the ship is original to her launch in 1854.  

Unfortunately, wind and weather have taken their toll and the ship's billethead is in need of stabilization.  In the spring of 2016, the billethead was removed from the ship as part of a repair project to the ship's bow section.  It was determined at this time that the original billethead should be stabilized for public display in the museum gallery and a new billethead created to actually be mounted on the ship.  The plan is to photograph the original billethead to create a 3-dimensional image which can then be used to "carve" a new billethead using CNC router technology.  The new billethead will be carved in sections, then the sections laminated together to create the new piece.  Once done, the replica will be placed on the ship's bow.

Total cost for this project is approximately $10,000, which included creation and installation of the new billethead on the ship and stabilization and mounting of the original for public display.


USS Constellation Education and Heritage Center Project

Historic Ships in Baltimore is seeking funding to support the fabrication of the exhibition for the new USS Constellation Education and Heritage Center to be located on Pier 1 in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. 

Approximately $300,000 in funding is still needed for exhibition fabrication.  To date, this project has received over $4MM in funding from federal, state, City and private sources for building design and construction and exhibition design.   

The existing building will be demolished and the new one-story structure will be constructed on roughly the same footprint.  Designed by New York based W-Architecture, the new building will provide enhanced visitor amenities including handicap access, emergency egress, restroom facilities and a superior exhibition space. 

The new exhibits will provide a history from the 1797 building of frigate Constellation through  the sloop-of-war Constellation’s roles as flagship of the African prior to the Civil War and as primary training ship for the US Naval Academy in Annapolis. 

Visited prior to boarding Constellation, the exhibition will provide visitors with a greater appreciation of the service and sacrifice of the thousands who served aboard and what of life was like for a sailor at sea upon a wooden warship.

   Download Heritage Center Brochure (PDF)

If you would like to learn more about these projects and support our efforts, please contact:

Christopher Rowsom

Executive Director

410.539.1797 ext. 402