The Coast Guard Heritage Asset Collection of Art and Artifacts

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Article written by Robert Carlson, AUXPA1






The U. S. Coast Guard’s rich heritage dates back to 1790, with the establishment of the Revenue Marine. As one of the first branches of the U.S. armed services, the Coast Guard has preserved a small but representative collection that includes art and artifacts from the Revenue Cutter Service, the Life-Saving Service, the Lighthouse Service, the Bureau of Navigation and the Steamboat Inspection Service.  The collection also includes artifacts from throughout the modern era including personal materials, uniforms, equipment, and tools.



The Coast Guard’s Heritage Asset Collection of over 20,000 artifacts, models and works of art is managed and maintained by the Curatorial Services Program.  The bulk of the collection is stored at the Exhibit Center, a facility in Forestville, Maryland in the Base National Capitol Region.  The Curatorial Services Program manages a robust loan program with more than 1,700 Coast Guard artifacts on loan to over 275 non-profit organizations throughout the United States.  The Curatorial Services Program also manages the Coast Guard Museum located on the campus of the Coast Guard Academy in New London, CT.  The Museum serves as the main exhibition space for the Heritage Asset Collection.

Below are examples of galleries at the Coast Guard Museum. Photos provided by Robert Carlson, AUXPA1


































Coast Guard Heritage Asset Collection Highlights

Cutter Memorabilia:

  • Silver gravy boat from the ward room of the USRC Androscoggin, and a silver plated serving spoon made by the R. Wallace Company for the Revenue Cutter Service.
  • Hand held oil lantern of brass and glass from Admiral H. S. Berdine’s stateroom on the Cutter Seminole.


  • Quadrant manufactured by Braham of Bristol from c.1830, making it one of the oldest in the collection. Wood, brass, optics and an ivory name plate and scale.
  • Prototype helicopter hoist developed with Sikorsky.


  • Pennant from the USS LCI(L)-87, an amphibious landing ship manned by a Coast Guard crew during World War II.


  • A one of a kind medal struck for and awarded to then LT Ellsworth P. Bertholf for his work in the overland relief of whalemen and their ships who had become trapped in the ice at Point Barrow in the winter of 1897-1898.
  • Life saving medal given to the volunteers who rescued the 32 people on the Steamer Metis when it ran into trouble off Long Island at Watch Hill, Rhode Island, on August 31, 1872.
  • Lieutenant David H. Jarvis’s special medal from Congress for his part in rescuing whalers trapped in ice at Point Barrow, Alaska in 1897.
  • Distinguished Flying Cross awarded posthumously to LT John Pritchard, USCG.  The Coast Guard awarded the DFC to LT Pritchard for his attempted rescue of an Army Air Force B-17 which had crashed on 9 November 1942 on the icecap on the east side of Greenland.  The first day, Pritchard and Radioman First Class Benjamin Bottoms rescued two injured crewmen and returned them to his cutter, USCGC Northland.  The second day, 29 November 1942 their aircraft disappeared in a storm.


  • CGC Spencer, WPG-36, model made by Anthony Kloska
  • USRC Massachusetts, one of the first ten cutters built for the Revenue Marine, model made by Piel Craftsmen
  • Model of an Eskimo whale boat with full hunting gear
  • Model of an Eskimo in his kayak with full hunting gear
  • Model of the 25-foot 10-inch motor surfboat on a trailer

Movie, Recruiting & Propaganda Posters:

  • World War II Propaganda
  • The Sea Devils (1937)
  • Sea Spoilers with John Wayne
  • Don Winslow of the Coast Guard (1943): Through thirteen episodes Don Winslow battles the German accented Scorpion, ally of the Japanese in their plans to invade the West Coast of the United States.  Based on the newspaper feature “Don Winslow of the Navy,” these “shorts” played between feature films at movie theatres during World War II.

Paintings & Etchings:

  • “The Wreck of the Atlantic Cast Up By the Sea,” Etching by Winslow Homer, printed in the 26 April 1873 edition of Harper’s Weekly
  • “Wreck in the Offing,” Etching by Howard Pyle
  • New Jersey Life-Saving Crew,” Etching by Joseph Becker, printed in the 25 January 1873 F. Leslie Magazine
  • “Breeches Buoy Rescue,” painting
  • Life-saving crew rowing through the surf, painting
  • “USRC Bear” underway, oil on canvas by Hunter Wood
  • Crew of the Revenue Cutter Bear ferrying stranded whalemen, oil on canvas by Anton Otto Fisher, Coast Guard Artist

World War II Combat Art:

  • “Fight to the Last” oil on canvas by Anton Otto Fisher, Coast Guard Artist
  • “Embarkation” painting by Jacob A. Lawrence (right)
  • “A Torpedoed Tanker” oil on canvas by Anton Otto Fisher, Coast Guard Artist
  • “USCGC Campbell” oil on canvas by Anton Otto Fisher, Coast Guard Artist
  • “Invasion of Italy”  oil on canvas by BMC William Goadby Lawrence, Coast Guard Artist
  • “Amphibious Landing” oil on canvas by BMC William Goadby Lawrence, Coast Guard Artist
  • “Landing on the Beach” oil on canvas by BMC William Goadby Lawrence, Coast Guard Artist
  • Iwo Jima, World War II oil on canvas
  • USS Samuel Chase, painting
  • “Off-Loading Supplies” oil on canvas by Ken Riley, Coast Guard Artist
  • “Dawn” oil on canvas by BMC William Goadby Lawrence, Coast Guard Artist
  • “Getting the Troops to the Front” oil on canvas by Duncan Gleason
  • “The Invasion of Normandy” oil on canvas by George Sottung


  • Portrait of Alexander Hamilton, oil on canvas copy of portrait by Copley.  Hamilton was the first Secretary of the Treasury and the “father” of the Coast Guard
  • Portrait of Revenue Marine Captain Frederick Lee, commanding the cutter Eagle during the War of 1812.  He was responsible for the safety of New Haven Harbor, Connecticut, and Long Island Sound during the war.  HMS Dispatch captured the Eagle after a 24-hour battle
  • Portrait of Revenue Cutter Service Captain John A. Henriques.  Henriques was the first superintendant of the Revenue Cutter School of Instruction (which was the fore-runner of the Coast Guard Academy).  Oil on canvas by Irwin D. Hoffman
  • Portrait of Revenue Cutter Service Captain Alexander V. Fraser.  Fraser was the Revenue Cutter Service’s first “military” commandant.  Oil on canvas by Irwin Hoffman
  • Portrait of Revenue Cutter Service Captain Girdler; Oil on canvas by George Sottung
  • Portrait of Revenue Cutter Service Captain Josiah Sturgis.  Oil on canvas by George Sottung
  • Portrait of Douglas Munro.  Munro is the Coast Guard’s only Medal of Honor recipient.


  • Training barque Alexander Hamilton, il on canvas by James A. Mitchell, 1978
  • USRC Forward,  oil on canvas
  • “Capture of the former cutter Harriet Lane” Painting by William H. RaVell III, CWO, USCG (Ret.)
  • USRC Itasca
  • USRC McCulloch


  • Swallowtail Lighthouse, Grand Manan Island.  Oil on canvas by Milton J. Burns
  • The Twin Lighthouses of Thatcher’s Island, Gloucester, Massachusetts.  Oil on canvas by Fischer Margeson
  • “Winter Passage,” Minot’s Ledge Lighthouse.  Oil on canvas by William Formby Halsell

Swords, Uniforms Accoutrements:

  • U.S. Life-Saving Service Cap worn by Surfman A. A. Jacobs while stationed at Life-Saving Station No. 19, Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts.  Jacobs served in both the U.S. Life-Saving Service and the Coast Guard
  • U.S. Life-Saving Service surfman’s collar insignia
  • U.S. Life-Saving Service uniform button
  • Surfman’s Badges from the U.S. LSS District 4, Station 14, Surfman 3
  • Class ring from USCG Academy Class of 1965
  • Epaulettes from a one-star admiral.
  • Revenue Cutter Service uniform coat buttons
  • Chief Petty Officer’s cap device

Ref: USCG Historian’s Office-



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