|Sunset on the Bay|
I hinted on Facebook that I'd spent much of last weekend "where they keep the nuclear wessels" which, as fans of Star Trek IV already know, is the former U.S. Naval base in Alameda, Calif., where they also keep the (non-nuclear) USS Hornet.
My six faithful readers may recall that my daughter Laura is the Archival and Collections Manager for the Hornet, an aircraft carrier commissioned in 1943 that served in World War II, Korea and Vietnam before recovering Apollos 11 and 12 from the South Pacific in 1969. It was decommissioned in 1970 and became a museum and National Historic Landmark in the '90s. Several months ago, Laura asked permission to redo the ship's Apollo Exhibit, which was well-intentioned but not well-organized or -curated. The Hornet had some very neat Space Age material but didn't really explain its context or significance. Laura thought she could apply her master's education (not quite completed) in Museum Studies to build a first-class modern exhibit that would capture visitors' interest and tell the Hornet's Apollo story right.
First thing she did was call the dorkiest space nerd she knew: me. One of my tasks was to help her dig through the ship's collection to identify the coolest stuff. We started planning the exhibit in the space alotted to it, basically one long compartment and a small entryway off of the Hornet's Hangar Deck, while the ship's volunteers cleared, cleaned, and repainted the room. That took a couple of months. Meanwhile, Laura and I sorted, built and drafted, with the advice of the dorkiest space nerd I know, Friend O' The Blog Jim O'Kane. Our constraints: working within the given space without altering a molecule of it (after all, the ship itself is the museum's most priceless artifact), using five display panels already installed, and spending a minimal budget (supplemented by a generous donation from Seahorse Systems and its proprietor Jim O'Kane).
Sunday was Install Day. Or, as my wife Karen calls it, the Day I Got My Garage Back. We transported a lot of stuff from home to the ship, most significantly a display case I painted for Laura and a "Gravity Box" I built to let kids pull handles to feel the difference between the force of gravity on the Earth and Moon. Laura, Karen, I, and Laura's sister Robin, who volunteers aboard the Hornet in other capacities, gathered dockside in the morning to make a museum.
|How you get stuff too heavy to roll up a gangway aboard an aircraft carrier. Laura's at the top left, I'm up there somewhere (not the guy in red; he's running the scissor-lift, which only a fool would let me do).|
|Laura with her co-worker, Curator Chad, and a partially completed portion of the Apollo Exhibit. Among Chad's many invaluable skills is driving a forklift. It was a skill we used often.|