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Harbor Defense Museum At Fort Hamilton

230 Sheridan Loop
Fort Hamilton
Brooklyn, New York
Phone: (718) 630 4349--

Statement of Purpose:

The museum is dedicated to the history and evolution of New York City's harbor defenses, beginning with the construction of the earliest earthen forts and concluding with the Nike missile era. As they approach the museum, visitors are greeted by a number of visual reminders of Fort Hamiltonís critical role in the defense of New York harbor. Just outside the fortís main gate is the largest smoothbore, muzzle-loading coastal defense gun ever built in the United States. Fort Hamiltonís 20-inch Rodman gun was first tested in 1864, and could fire a 1,080 pound projectile 4.6 miles. An exhibit within the museum details Lt. Col. Rodmanís career, and the development of the guns that bare his name. Adjacent to the visitorsí center is a 12-inch gun, reminiscent of the largest ordnance ever mounted at Fort Hamilton. Nearby Cannon Walk, which leads to the museum, features a collection of ordnance from the Second World War.

Highlights & Collections:

Today the Harbor Defense Museum occupies Fort Hamiltonís caponier, a small freestanding bastion located within the fortís dry moat. The caponier originally mounted six flank howitzers strategically positioned to rake the moat with cannister shot. Although most nineteenth century fortifications had some form of flank defense, caponiers are rare in US military architecture. Fort Hamiltonís caponier is probably the nationís earliest and finest example. This remarkably preserved structure has been added to the National Register of Historic Places.


Artifacts, models, images and dioramas detailing New Yorkís harbor defenses are located throughout the museum. Among the artifacts on display is an original Pattern 1844, 24-pounder flank howitzer, ordnance models of the primary artillery pieces that defended the harbor, and a representative collection of the projectiles they fired. Other displays include an operating mutoscope, which provides rare moving images of Endicott period disappearing guns and supporting mortars, a variety of uniforms worn by New York National Guard units that were assigned to Fort Hamilton, and an M1883 Gatling gun.

The museum also contains a collection of shoulder arms employed by the US Army since the Revolutionary War. These weapons range from a French M1763 Charleville musket, imported for use by the Continental Army, to todayís M16A1 rifle. A unique collection of over forty military miniatures stands nearby. The miniatures, which depict local troops beginning with the Burgher Guard of New Amsterdam and concluding with the forces currently stationed at Fort Hamilton, are considered to be among the finest in any American military museum.


Mon-Fri -- 10:00 am Ė 4:00 pm

Admission & Directions:

FREEóDonations Welcomed

Directions: The Harbor Defense Museum is part of the United States Army Fort Hamilton Garrison. The main entrance to the fort is located at Fort Hamilton Parkway and 101st Street. During periods of heightened security, visitors without military identification are advised to contact the visitor center 48 hours in advance at (718) 630-4848, or

BY BUS: B-8 to 4th Avenue and 94th Street, B16 & B37 to 4th Avenue and 100th Street, or the B-63 to 4th Avenue and Shore Road. From bus stops indicated walk to 4th Avenue and 101st Street, and then east one block to Fort Hamilton Parkway.  

BY TRAIN: R train to 95th Street. Walk to 4th Avenue and 101st Street, and then east one block to Fort Hamilton Parkway.

BY CAR: Belt Parkway to Exit 2 (4th Avenue/Fort Hamilton Parkway), take 4th Avenue and make a right onto 100th Street. Go one block on 100th Street to Fort Hamilton Parkway and make a right. Take Fort Hamilton Parkway one block to 101st Street.


Key Personnel:

Paul Morando--Director
Richard Cox--Museum Technician

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