Sea History 092 - Spring 2000

Page 57

MUSEUM NEWS American Merchant Marine Museum News The SS United States, the famous American speed champion that symbolized an era in transAtlantic ocean travel, still inspires today. With her sleek looks, fifty-five foot tall red, white and blue funnels, and famous aluminum superstructure, the 53,000-ton former flagship of the American merchant marine was the ship of America's dreams. However, in November 1999, the United States celebrated a rather unwanted anniversary: 30 years in lay up. In early November of 1969, the United States was abruptly pulled from service by her operators, United States Lines. She has not sailed since. For the past three years, the United States has been berthed at Pier 82 in Philadelphia. She has many friends, admirers and supporters, not least of which has been the American Merchant Marine Museum. Displayed with a replica of the Hales Trophy, symbol of the ship's record crossing in 1952, is a full hull model of the United States, over three feet in length, which had been built for the chairman of United States Lines, John Franklin, in 1954. Such models, showing the underwater configuration of the propellers, were never seen by the general public as the arrangement of her machinery and propulsion were classified top secret by the US government. Perhaps the most significant items from the history and career of the United States reside within the museum's archives. When the New York office ofU nited States Lines closed, all the public relations, technical, and financial files were donated to them useum. These files contain information about the United States and all of the famo us liners that sailed for United States Lines, including the Leviathan, Washington, Manhattan and America. The museum is in the opening stages of planning an exhibit on the United States for sometime in 2000. In addition, the museum is currently archiving and cataloguing the United States Lines files. Once it is completed, the public will finally have access to oncesecret information about the golden years of America's merchant marine history in the 20th century. Whatever the future holds for the United States, the American Merchant Marine Museum will be at the forefront of the ongoing effort to keeping the spirit of this great ship alive and her legacy intact.



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(AMMM, US Merchant Marine Academy, Kings Point NY 11024; 516 773-5515) of the ship's marble "eyes," the earliest known metal anchor, and collections of black-glazed, cooking and coarse wares. (INA, PO Drawer HG, College Station TX 77841-5137; 409 845-6694) ... The stacks of the San Francisco Maritime National Historical Park's J. Porter Shaw An artifact recoveredfrom the 5th-century BC shipwreck at Tektas Burnu (Photo: INA)

Library have been enriched by the recent donation of the distinguished library of maritime book collector Donald V. Reardon, gathered during his career as a naval architect with Gibbs and Cox, then as the Coast G uard's only naval architect on the West Coast and finally as a consultant for American President Lines. (National Maritime M useum Association, PO Box 470310, San Francisco CA 94147) ... Thanks to a $20,000 grant from the Leo Cox Beach Philanthropic Foundation, the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum has begun digitizing and indexing their collection of 6,000 historic images. (LCMM, 4472 Basin Harbor Road, Vergennes VT 05491 ; 802 475-2022) For additional information about these stories and others, subscribe to the eight-page, bimonthly Sea History Gazette-$18.75 for members of NMHS, $28.75 for non-members (plus $10 shipping for addresses outside the US). Call us at 914 737-7878or 1 800 221-NMHS (6647) or send a check to NMHS, PO Box 68, Peekskill NY 10566



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