A Project of the USS Constitution Museum

A Project of the USS Constitution Museum

The Hold

Anchor Icon

In the deepest, darkest, dingiest place at the very bottom of Constitution is the hold: a gigantic wooden warehouse. Here, packed tight in barrels, is enough food, water and other provisions to supply the ship for six months. However, the crew won’t eat and drink all of this. They share it with hundreds of rats. Rats don’t just eat the tubs of bread, meat, cheese and beans. If the crew don’t control them, they can even gnaw holes right through the ship’s hull.


The Cooper on Constitution

Have your students explore Meet Your Shipmates to find the tradesmen, like a carpenter, sailmaker, and cooper. These workers used their skills to keep Constitution in good repair. In this activity, meet Alexander Lane, Constitution’s cooper and build a (paper) barrel with your students.

Coopers on Constitution – Building a Barrel


Rats in the Hold

For a bit of fun and an introduction to the “Hold” scene in Explore Old Ironsides, have your students test their hand-eye coordination in this fast-paced game to rid the stowaways (the rats) from Constitution’s hold. Be careful not to hit the cats – they help get rid of the rats.

Game: Rats in the Hold


Constitution’s Construction

At the very bottom of the Ship, Constitution‘s construction features can really be seen. Learn about the construction of Constitution with suggested interdisciplinary activities for a K-12 audience from All Hands on Deck. Activities include: What Floats, What Sails?Inside Constitution‘s Hull, and Which is Bigger, Constitution or Your School?


How Much Can Constitution Hold?

Use this lesson plan to calculate the size of Constitution’s hold. Then, compare Constitution’s hold to the size of your classroom. This activity lesson includes tables, charts, and equations for calculating area and volume.

Lesson Plan: Calculating Area & Volume – How Much Can Constitution Hold?