This is the builder's model for the second-class battleship USS Maine, currently on display in the museum's Spanish-American War gallery. The Norfolk-based battleship is famous because it exploded on February 14, 1898, an event that led the United States to declare war on Spain. The term "builder's model" means that the shipyard designers actually built the model as a means of demonstrating the ship's capabilities to naval officers, elected officials, and anyone else responsible for authorizing the ship's construction. A large 3-D model allowed for close-up inspection and detailed critique of a ship before workers even laid the ship's keel.
|Model maker finishing up the builder's model of USS Maine (Scientific American image)|