Current Issue

“Platform of Memory”: Morphing Aircraft Carriers from Weapons of War to Cultural Destinations

Benjamin HRUSKA
IJCCI volume 1, issue 3, July 2014

Maritime cultures throughout history have molded hulls to meet new needs. This article explores the curator’s roles in the last thirty years in transforming decommissioned World War II era U.S. Navy aircraft carriers into what I term “platform of memory.” In seeking to preserve floating examples of carriers from this era curators molded these weapons of war into cultural destinations with multiple agendas including education, historical interpretation, and honoring American veterans. However, challenges on both the theoretical and practical sides of museum theory abound with curators converting a mobile ship into stationary cultural destination. This article aims to address some of the foundational considerations curators faced in retooling the most dangerous working environment in the world, that of a flight deck of a carrier, into a visitor friendly destination with multiple goals including showcasing the careers of past sailors, classification of vessels, and the greater history of the U.S. Navy.

Keywords: “Platform of memory”, Curation, Preservation, Maritime, Aircraft carriers


Category: Academic Article