USS Porpoise

One of six ships of the U.S. Exploring Expedition, the Porpoise sailed around the world between 1838 and 1842 under the command of Lt. Cadwallader Ringgold. The four-year-long expedition, headed by Lt. Charles Wilkes, covered nearly 87,000 miles, including a full circumnavigation of the globe. Wilkes and his crew sighted Antarctica (proving its existence), charted hundreds of Pacific islands and surveyed the Columbia River in present-day Oregon.
This model was built in the 1980s by Dr. William Brown for an exhibition about the U.S. Exploring Expedition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History.
Physical Description
wood (overall material)
overall: 36 in x 40 in x 16 in; 91.44 cm x 101.6 cm x 40.64 cm
ID Number
accession number
catalog number
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History
Measuring & Mapping
Time and Navigation
Time and Navigation, National Air and Space Museum
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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