By EMILY WILLIAMS, Post and courier
MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (AP) – Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum has no shortage of historical artifacts.
But, until now, the maritime museum had no place of residence for its more rare and fragile objects which require storage in a carefully air-conditioned environment.
For a museum based on a historic aircraft carrier, the options are limited for such a space, but, in the museum’s new Fragile Collections exhibit, located in a room next to the Yorktown Hangar Deck aircraft carrier, these artifacts now have a House.
The new exhibit, which opened to the public on December 17, features a selection of rare and fragile artefacts primarily related to World War II that were not on display at the museum or were only on display for a very limited time.
Having an air-conditioned exhibition space on the aircraft carrier means better access for visitors to exhibits from the Patriots Point archives, said executive director Rorie Cartier, who took over the helm of the museum last summer, in an announcement. of the exhibition.
“It’s our job as a museum to connect people to history, and this exhibit will help better understand American experiences in times of conflict,” he said.
This exhibition space is designed to be long term, with artifacts coming in and going out periodically. The pieces on display now are just a part of what the museum can put in this space.
“There’s a lot of stuff in our storage that we could use,” said museum curator Melissa Buchanan, who handpicked the items on display.
The first iteration of the Fragile Collections exhibit could “pretty much be called ‘Melissa’s favorites’,” she joked.
Every selection in the play has a story behind it, Buchanan said.
It’s hard to say which of the artifacts will grab visitors’ attention the most, Buchanan said.
The scuba diving helmets on display near the entrance to the exhibit are sure to attract interest, she said.
And Eleanor Roosevelt fans will notice the champagne bottle fragment and celebratory ribbons the first lady used at the Yorktown christening. A zoomed-in black-and-white photo shows her posing with the bottle and ribbons still intact – an obvious match for the artifacts in the adjacent case.
Many exhibits were donated, including an American flag that was hoisted aboard the USS Laffey during D-Day operations.
A wall features iconic WWII propaganda posters, a donation to Patriots Point at the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston.
Some of the rarer items on display are the flight suits worn by Japanese aviators during World War II, Buchanan said. One is lined with rabbit fur and the other, which would be worn under this costume, is silk. An attached electrical cord could be plugged in to heat clothes.
With a collection of donated artifacts, the Yorktown itself is somewhat of a treasure trove of historical artifacts.
Some of the items on display – such as a box, displayed near the start of the exhibit containing a 5-inch gun sight – were found on Yorktown. Another, a certificate commemorating when the sailors crossed the Arctic Circle, was found during the cleaning of the ship’s printing press, Buchanan said.
The Fragile Collections exhibit is included in the regular price of admission to Patriots Point. It is open every day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
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