Plan proposes spending $5 million to upgrade exhibits on USS Yorktown

Plan includes new theater

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MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. — In an effort to attract visitors to a World War II aircraft carrier, the Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum unveiled plans Friday to spend upward to $5 million to upgrade exhibits on the USS Yorktown using everything from holograms to computers.

Museum officials announced Friday a master plan to spend perhaps $5 million to update the World War II-era aircraft carrier USS Yorktown with more interactive exhibits to better attract 21st century visitors.   BRUCE SMITH/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Museum officials announced Friday a master plan to spend perhaps $5 million to update the World War II-era aircraft carrier USS Yorktown with more interactive exhibits to better attract 21st century visitors.

“We’re in a competitive business just like any other business and this is the 21st century and we really haven’t embraced it like we should have,” said Mac Burdette, the museum’s executive director.
A proposed master plan includes a new theater and a hanger bay with exhibits with cast figures showing how the aircraft were maintained and armed. Tours through the carrier would be themed, such as everyday life aboard the ship, the engineering of the carrier and how it was used as a weapon of war. There might also be audio narration.

One area would use interactive technology to tell stories specific to the Yorktown.

Burdette said the approach will make the ship come to life

“Right now if you go down to the engine room, you have no idea what it’s for or how it works,” he said. “We’ll have a screen set up and you’ll push a button and you’ll have one of our veterans who worked the engine room telling you about it.”

The carrier has dozens of memorial plaques, and the plan proposes using those as part of an interactive exhibit so when visitors walk past, they see video about the crewmen.

Another proposal is called “Moments, Missions and Mayhem,” in which, throughout the ship, visitors will be able to, with interactive technology, encounter events such as a ready room briefing or crewmen roused from their beds during an attack.

The plan, developed by MUSAIC Design Group of Boston, will be considered by the Patriots Point board next month. Burdette said the exhibits will be upgraded in phases over three years.

Burdette said that in the 38 years the Yorktown has been in South Carolina, its primary audience has been World War II and Vietnam vets.

“The generations that supported Patriots Point in 1975 are not the same generations supporting it today and going into the future,” he said. “They are technologically advanced and they can’t just look at a picture on the wall and be satisfied. They have to press a button and something has to happen that inspires them and intrigues them and excites them.”

Matt Kirchman, a principal planner for MUSAIC Design, said designers looked at other ship museums and many are static.

“The idea of bringing exhibits to life aboard the vessel, that’s a new twist,” he said.

In other places “if you took the exhibits off the ship you could put them in any building and they would be just as much at home. We don’t want to do that here. We really want to bring the Yorktown to life.”

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Jake 03/16/13 - 12:00 am
This is great

I have been to the Yorktown at least 3 times and every time it was great. The one thing that stands out about the Yorktown was the hospital area that showed an Xray of an un-exploded mortar that landed in a Vietnamese man's collar bone gap and they had to surgically remove it.
Also, the interior of the carrier is like a small city with it's own post office, hospital, cafeteria, chow hall.
Out here I have been on the USS Hornet, which is docked in Alameda Bay. This was the carrier that picked up Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Mike Collins after their historic lunar flight in 1969.

Riverman1 03/16/13 - 06:03 am
There has always been

There has always been controversy about the Yorktown sitting in Charleston Harbor. Some feel it is too modern and detracts from the historic setting.

GeorgiaCarolina 03/16/13 - 09:51 am
Not going anywhere

I guess there is always something to debate or point out. The USS Yorktown has been in Charleston harbor for 38 years, if there are still people not happy about that, they will probably be gone soon. It is not any more modern than the ships loading up BMWs from the Spartanburg plant or the 21st century cruise ships sitting on the actual historical side of Charleston harbor everyday. They all sit in the shadow of the new Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge. Again, there is always going to be someone to complain about something.

my.voice 03/16/13 - 10:52 am
The ship doesn't sit in the

The ship doesn't sit in the historic district. And without the ship and others like it, you wouldn't have a historic district. Bring it back to life, heck, fire the dang guns weekly just as a reminder! Don't let history sink into disrepair!

Riverman1 03/16/13 - 11:28 am
I'm simply pointing out there

I'm simply pointing out there has been much controversy about the carrier and its effect on historic Charleston. From the historic Battery on the Cooper River side it is certainly visible. The modern ships are unloaded up river a bit from the historic Battery. Of course it has been there a long time, but removing it was seriously discussed not too many years ago. You have to understand the importance proud Charlestonians place on historic preservation. Afterall, the Atlantic Ocean was formed by the convergence of the Cooper and Ashley rivers Charlestonians believe.

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