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In early 2017, our fourth floor will be transformed into a new destination for historical education and innovation. During the current renovation, objects from our permanent collection are on view throughout the Museum.
Civil Defense Volunteer Organization Uniform
Wool, silk, metal
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Overall: 3/4 x 5 3/8 x 3 1/2 in. (1.9 x 13.7 x 8.9 cm)
Bottom center printed in blue with "United States Lines" and eagle logo
The United States Lines' luxury oceanliner S.S. "United States," designed by New York naval architect William Francis Gibbs, plied the route between New York and Le Havre from 1952 to 1969. Its capacity was 888 first class, 524 cabin, and 544 tourist class. The ship sailed with a crew of 1,036. Subsidized by the U.S. Navy, the United States could be converted from a 2,000-person passenger liner into a 14,000-person troop ship in a few days. To cut the ship’s weight and reduce fire hazards, Gibbs insisted on aluminum throughout. In fact, all 22,000 pieces of furniture aboard were framed in aluminum. These design choices made the ship capable of record speeds--crossing the Atlantic in 3 days, 12 hours, and 12 minutes, with an average speed of 34.51 knots. This record remains unbroken.
The arrival of the "United States" in New York harbor was a noteworthy event. Gibbs, who maintained an office downtown, always greeted the ship upon its arrival in New York harbor. With the ascendance of the jet age in the 1960s, oceanliners fell out of favor, and the ship was withdrawn from service in 1969. Today it remains docked on the Delaware River in Philadelphia.
The "United States" was sleek and modern, with a décor to match. In contrast to the opulent Victorian interiors of earlier ocean liners, the United States’ cabins were decorated with aluminum, glass, plastic, and synthetic textiles. This simple glass pin tray featuring the U.S. Lines eagle logo reflects the ship’s modern aesthetic.
Gift of JoAnn and Charles Srebnik
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
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