In celebration of the 60th anniversary of her historic maiden voyage, the SS United States is steaming onto computer screens across America. The Save the United States Campaign (www.SavetheUnitedStates.org) blends social networking with historic preservation to raise awareness and resources for the cause of saving one of the nation’s most iconic national symbols. The groundbreaking interactive experience will create an online community committed to protecting a unique and inspiring expression of American pride and innovation.
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Like the Space Shuttle and the 747, the SS United States is one of the nation’s crowning technological achievements. Larger than the Titanic, she shattered the transatlantic speed record 60 years ago this week – a record that has never been broken. The safest, fastest and most advanced ship of her time, SS United States epitomizes “Made in America” and remains the largest passenger ship constructed entirely in her namesake nation. The historic vessel was part of a top secret Cold War program to build the fastest ship afloat; the SS United States could be quickly transitioned from the luxury liner of choice for Hollywood celebrities to a massive, high-speed troop carrier.
Today, America’s Flagship sits idle and in a state of disrepair in Philadelphia awaiting restoration and repurposing as a museum and self-sustaining stationary waterfront destination.
“The Save the United States Campaign is as an exciting and inspiring project the entire nation can rally around,” stated Susan Gibbs, executive director of the SS United States Conservancy, which purchased the vessel last year. “This new campaign leverages the power of social networking and the internet to save one of the 20th century’s crowning technological achievements for future generations. This campaign will allow people from the world over the chance to connect with the vessel online and participate in the ship’s restoration in a very personal way.”
The dynamic web platform, designed by Social Control of Los Angeles, enables visitors to scroll across the exterior of the ship and zoom in to uncover historical information about the ship’s passengers and crew, from the Presidents who sailed aboard her as well as immigrants, movie stars, diplomats, and people from all walks of life.
For $1 per square inch, supporters can select and save their own sections of the ship. They can also upload photos, stories, anecdotes, and tributes which can be linked to their Facebook pages and other social networking sites. Individuals and corporations have a variety of customization options including highlighting their sections with badges, colors and other graphics.
“We’re creating a new online community of people who care about this great ship and who are eager to celebrate our common history,” states Gibbs. “The platform makes participating in the campaign fun and exciting while being accessible to all ages and income levels.” All donor profiles will be included in a new high-tech Wall of Honor in the permanent shipboard exhibition. The interactive display will insure that all participants’ stories become a lasting part of the larger story of the SS United States.
Funds raised by the campaign will be used to restore the exterior of the nearly 1,000-foot-long ship to her former glory. They will also be used to develop a 20,000-square-foot museum as well as a dynamic Center for American Design and Discovery that will explore history, science, technology and innovation themes.
Those interested in supporting the campaign can log onto www.SavetheUnitedStates.org or can connect with the effort on Facebook at facebook.com/SSUSC or on Twitter @SavetheSSUS.