Located in New York City's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood at Pier 86, the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum is a museum housed on the former US Army carrier ship USS Intrepid, dedicated to American maritime and military history. As a nonprofit institution, the museum is focused on education and awareness of the science and history of the USS Intrepid and other historic crafts.
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After its launch in 1943, the Essex-class aircraft carrier USS Intrepid served in World War II, the Vietnam War, and the Cold War. Throughout the 1960s, the ship was used as a NASA recovery vessel before being decommissioned in 1974. The carrier was then planned for demolition following its use in the United States Bicentennial celebration, but the intervention of Zachary and Larry Fisher, prominent New York realtors, saved the vessel for future repurposing. It was permanently docked in New York City's Hudson River and opened as a public museum in 1982. In 1986, the carrier was designated as a National Historic Landmark.
In 1988, the museum acquired a historic submarine, the USS Growler, which is also on display today. Following the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center, the museum served as a temporary field office for the FBI. In 2006, the museum was closed for renovations to the carrier, reopening two years later with additional exhibit space and aircrafts. In the summer of 2012, the Enterprise space shuttle was moved to the museum and opened during a five-day celebration called SpaceFest. The Enterprise pavilion was damaged in the fall of 2012 by hurricane Sandy and was closed for repairs, but reopened in 2013.
The museum contains four main sections: the USS Intrepid, the Space Shuttle Pavilion, the USS Growler, and a British Airways Concorde.
The Intrepid is the largest section and houses the Space Shuttle Enterprise exhibit on its flight deck. The flight deck is home to over two dozen other aircrafts, including crafts from all five branches of the US Armed Forces as well as several international crafts. On the Galley Deck, visitors are able to view the squadron ready room, where the carrier's pilots were briefed before missions, and the combat information center, which tracked nearby ships and planes, equipped with its original radar scopes.
Below, the Hanger Deck is home to the primary indoor exhibition space. Visitors can start their tour with the short film The Story of Intrepid, which features archival footage and interviews. The Medal of Honor exhibit educates visitors about medal recipients in a series of interactive kiosks. In the Fo'c'sle exhibit, the large chains holding the carrier's anchors can be seen, as well as the personal quarters of crewmen and high-ranking officers. A multimedia experience titled Kamikaze: Day of Darkness, Day of Light tells the story of the kamikaze attacks on the Intrepid in 1944 and 1945 through a film featuring crew interviews and a memorial wall honoring the lives that were lost. In the Exploreum, families can explore interactive exhibits featuring a helicopter, submarine, and airplane wings.
The Third Deck of the Intrepid aims to teach visitors about life for the sailors and officers aboard the ship. The mess deck, the ship's main dining area, has been fully restored to its original appearance and features colorful decor and Western-style decorations. The berthing area's original quarters, where thousands of sailors once slept, provide a unique look at life at sea.
The Space Shuttle Pavilion is home to the Space Shuttle Enterprise and features films, photographs, and other NASA artifacts. The pavilion's entranceway features a soundscape of conversations between mission control and Enterprise astronauts during test flights. In the StationLIFE exhibit, large screens provide a glimpse of life and current research aboard the International Space Station. In addition to the Enterprise, visitors can also view the smaller Soyuz TMA-6 space capsule, which carried three astronauts to the International Space Station in 2005.
On the USS Growler, visitors can experience life aboard a submarine and explore a missile command center. During its 1959-1963 service, the Growler was a nuclear deterrent submarine that patrolled the Pacific Ocean. Today, it is the only submarine of its kind to be open to the public. Visitors may view two of the ship's periscopes in the control room and attack center, along with torpedo tubes and bunks in the aft torpedo room. Additionally, the Crew's Mess exhibit offers a glimpse of crew social life.
Supersonic luxury jets produced as a joint project between Great Britain and France, 20 Concordes were built between 1976 and 2003. The British Airways Concorde on display at the museum is the Alpha Delta G-BOAD that broke the world record for transatlantic airline crossing in 1996, making its journey in 2 hours and 52 minutes. Museum visitors can explore the entire jet, recreating the luxury experience of its former wealthy passengers.
Events and Education
The museum serves as the hub for Fleet Week New York every spring, hosting events such as movies, band performances, lectures, and a dance. The museum has also served as a concert venue and event space for major events, including 2013 MLB All Star game concerts and 2014's Super Bowl festivities.
As part of its commitment to educational programming, the museum brings STEM workshops and classes to students in New York City and Westchester County. Free daily family programming and year-round children's camps are also provided.
Pier 86, W 46th St & 12th Ave, New York, NY 10036, Phone: 212-245-0072