© National Museum Navy
In 1936, 9 years only after the removal of the arsenal of Rochefort, the archivist of the port, the captain Dick Lemoine, opens a naval museum in the former station of the Navy. The ensemble is made up mainly of models and tools from the museum of models, opened in the arsenal in the 1820 years, in an idea of museum of tradition, between prestige, technique and heritage. Closed in 1940, the naval museum sees its collections put in boxes and scattered without great control. In 1947, its collections are integrated with those of the national museum of the Navy. A first reinstallation attempt fails in 1948 due to the poor condition of the building. Until 1959, it is invaded by various administrative departments (Maritime Bureau of recruitment, Naval Safety, Naval Social Services). In 1960, a new attempt to re-open highlights the fragility of an edifice eaten away by termites. A comprehensive plan is necessary for its rehabilitation. It is finally open to the public in 1974. It is a component of the National Navy Museum since 1978.
It is installed in a mansion of the XVIIe century, the Hotel de Cheusses, named after the last lord of the castle of Rochefort, driven out by Louis XIV in 1666: Jacques Henry de Cheusses. The Hotel de Cheusses is present at all major stages of Rochefort: seigniorial lodge, command of the Navy, Commissariat de la Marine, Naval Museum. Historically, it is the only building, with the church of the Old Parish, able to evoke Rochefort before 1666. Seats of local, military and then administrative powers, it is at the heart of the industrial, economic and military apparatus that the Arsenal represents, until its decommissioning in 1927. Heirs to the collections, testifying to the activity of this arsenal, he inaugurated a slow movement of appropriation and enhancement of maritime heritage, which flourished in the 1980 years and which constitutes the central image of Rochefort today.