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USS Adams museum builds artifact collection

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The USS Adams will soon drop anchor at the Jacksonville Shipyards as a warship museum.

The museum, which is part of the shipyards revitalization project, will be aboard the last surviving Adams class warship. But the organizers running the museum say they hope every ship in that class will be represented.

Navy veterans from across the country are coming together to help make that happen and keep history alive.

Artifacts have been dropped off from Washington, D.C., and Minnesota by veterans representing the USS Barry and the USS Conyngham.

David Suckow served aboard the USS Conyngham in the 1960s, working in the ship's engine room during the Vietnam War.

A photobook of his shipmates is just one of the many historical artifacts he brought from Minnesota in a trailer to donate to the USS Adams Museum.

"I think our younger generation, they need to learn what our history is and this is a small part of it," Suckow said.
 
He and other sailors think the USS Adams Museum is the perfect home for their memorabilia. 
 
"To have young men and young women come to a museum and see a sea story, maybe it would motivate them to serve their country, too," said John Burkhard, who's retired from the Navy.
 
Burkhard served on the USS Coynyngham years after Suckow, but he said he still feels a sense of camaraderie with him.
 
"The artifacts tell a story, and when you look at one and you say, 'I remember that,' it just brings back all these memories," Burkhard said.

The first operational mission for the USS Adams was in 1962 for the quarantine of Cuba during the Cuban missile crisis. For most of its 30-year career, the warship's home port was Northeast Florida's Naval Station Mayport.
 
Bringing home the Adams took nearly seven years and about $4 million in private donations. Once the museum opens, its main source of income will be from entry fees.
 
"This was just a no-brainer," said Joe Snowberger, commodore of the USS Adams Museum. "It's going to create jobs, bring 200,000 tourists to downtown Jacksonville, stimulate restaurants, hotels and new activities just because the ship is down here."
 
The Jacksonville Historic Naval Ships Association hopes to represent all 23 of the Adams-class warships that served the U.S. Navy in the museum, and its collection is beginning to grow, from a log of a night at sea to a chief engineer's notes that tell the watch how to operate.

"This establishes our library for the future research of anything (related to the) Adams class of ships, and we were just thrilled and honored," Snowberger said.
 
Snowberger said the museum, which is expected to open its doors during the summer of 2016, will not only celebrate the Navy, but provide STEM-based education and programming for students.
 
For information on how to make a donation or become a member of the USS Adams Warship Museum, go to http://www.ussadams.com