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New Temporary Exhibit Features Rare and Fragile Artifacts from World War II

Mayci Rechner Dec 03, 2021

A new temporary exhibit at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum will display some of the most delicate artifacts in the collection for the very first time. The Fragile Collections exhibit features items that must be stored in a climate-controlled area. A new exhibit space on the USS Yorktown Hangar Deck allows these artifacts to be safely displayed without exposure to heat or humidity.

“Creating a climate-controlled exhibit space aboard the USS Yorktown means our visitors will have the chance to experience pieces straight from the archive,” said Executive Director Dr. Rorie Cartier. “It’s our job as a museum to connect people to history and this exhibit will create a deeper understanding of American experiences during times of conflict.”

The items featured in the exhibit are primarily from World War II and hand-selected by the museum curator. Artifacts include the ribbons from the champagne bottle used by Eleanor Roosevelt to christen the USS Yorktown, the American flag that flew aboard the USS Laffey on D-Day, and fragments from kamikaze aircraft that struck U.S. ships in the Pacific Theater.

“I am thrilled. Our visitors will finally have the chance to see these incredible artifacts,” said Museum Curator Melissa Buchanan. “Every object in the collection tells a story. We can see the challenges, the triumphs, and the day-to-day life of sailors in World War II. Preserving their stories and sharing them with the public is the most important thing we do at Patriots Point.”

The opening of the Fragile Collections exhibit is possible thanks to the USS Yorktown Foundation, which funded the restoration and preservation of many of the artifacts.

The Fragile Collections exhibit will open to the public on Friday, December 17 and is included in the price of museum admission. Friends of the Fleet annual pass holders will be offered exclusive early access to view the exhibit. To purchase an annual pass, visit www.patriotspoint.org/get-involved.

On opening day, the museum curator will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to answer questions in the exhibit. During their visit to the USS Yorktown that day, guests are invited to create thank you cards for veterans that will be shared with patients at the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center.

The grand opening of the Fragile Collections exhibit also marks the launch of the holiday version of the popular guided Captain’s Tour, which will be offered through the end of the year. In this festive spin on the behind-the-scenes tour of the USS Yorktown, visitors will hear stories of the Apollo 8 space capsule recovery, look at menus for Christmas supper aboard the aircraft carrier, and see the quarters where admirals and captains lived and dined during the holidays. The tours are led by top-rated walking tour company Bulldog Tours and are offered twice a day Sunday through Friday, three times a day on Saturdays. Tickets for the Holiday Captain’s Tour are limited and can be purchased in advance at patriotspoint.org.

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