This is a half-model of the 12-gun brig USS Truxtun. The model dates to 1841, making it the second oldest artifact in the museum gallery (second only to the museum's half-model of USS Delaware). Before the invention of more advanced means of drawing and designing ships, architects would fabricate a half model from wood to provide guidance to workers on how to build the ship. Workers would take the model, lay it on the ground, and begin drawing out the ship's hull to correct proportions.
Workers at the Gosport Navy Yard (now Norfolk Naval Shipyard) built Truxtun between 1841 and 1843. The ship was one of the last all-sail ships built by Gosport. Operating out of Norfolk, she served one tour with the Mediterranean Squadron and one tour with the Africa Squadron in search of slave traders before being sent to Mexican waters for the Mexican-American War. It was during this conflict that gale force winds pushed her onto a coral reef. The ship's company abandoned the ship after several attempts to free her.