SS John W. Brown, also known as B-4611, is a Liberty ship, one of two still floating today (the other being the SS Jeremiah O'Brien in San Francisco). The ship is today a museum ship located at Clinton Street Pier 1 in Baltimore Harbor. The ship was named after labor union leader John W. Brown.
After the war, the John W. Brown carried government cargoes to help rebuild war-torn Europe and returned American troops to the United States.
After 1946, she was loaned by the government to the City of New York, where she became a floating nautical high school, the only one in the United States. The ship served in that capacity from 1946 to 1982, graduating thousands of students prepared to begin careers in the Merchant Marine, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Coast Guard.
When her schoolship days had ended, the first Project Liberty Ship was formed in New York City to preserve the ship. They were not successful in finding her a berth in New York and she was towed to the James River Reserve Fleet in July 1983 with her future in serious doubt.
In 1988 Project Liberty Ship Baltimore was able to rescue her and restore her, and found her a home in Baltimore, Maryland near where she was built. In September 1988, the John W. Brown was rededicated as a memorial museum at ceremonies at Dundalk Marine Terminal.
After three years of restoration effort, on August 24, 1991, she steamed under her own power for the first time in 45 years, completed sea trials in the Chesapeake Bay. One month later, on September 21, 1991, the John W. Brown carried about 600 members and guests on her Matron Voyage, her inaugural cruise.
The SS John W. Brown was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997.
In 1994, the John W. Brown received Coast Guard Certification for coastwise ocean voyages, and in April made her first offshore voyage since 1946—to New York Harbor. In August 1994 she made her first foreign voyage since 1946—to Halifax, Nova Scotia, then to Boston, Massachusetts and Greenport, New York. In 2000 she visited the Great Lakes for dry docking and hull work in Toledo.
In addition to her floating museum role, John W. Brown still puts out to sea for "Living History Day Cruises".