This exhibition will delve into the science and technology that has dramatically transformed the America’s Cup. Before technology transformed racing, various mono-hull class boats were used. Today, large catamarans literally fly at remarkable speeds!
The 35th America’s Cup race in Bermuda will feature 50-foot catamarans that have a towering hard-wing sail and J-foil dagger boards. These two technological advances allow these catamarans to fly at near-highway speeds just above the water’s surface, making for very competitive and exciting races that are on par with premier automobile and motorcycle racing series.
To prepare for the installation of Speed and Innovation in the America’s Cup, Abandon Ship will close on Monday, December 5, 2016. Opened in May 2012, this exhibition explored the aftermath of catastrophes at sea. Inspired by the story of Steven Callahan’s 76 days adrift, Abandon Ship included a wide variety of stories across the globe of explorers, fishermen, and recreational voyages that faced shipwrecks. Guests have consistently enjoyed and connected with the personal stories of survival at sea, particularly the portion of the exhibition dedicated to the Titanic, which included a model lifeboat that will be relocated elsewhere in the Museum.
Then, the Great Hall of Steam will close to the public starting on Wednesday, January 4, 2017, to begin the installation of Speed and Innovation in the America’s Cup. The Great Hall of Steam provided a visual display of maritime steam engines along with an array of oceangoing commercial steamship models. The Museum has updated and added to the collection over the years, and added new attractions including the popular ship model maker’s stand, which will be incorporated into a new exhibition space. The steamship models and the ship model maker’s stand will be reinterpreted into the gallery space previously home to Abandon Ship. This new model gallery will reopen in March. A number of models made by members of the Hampton Roads Ship Model Society, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2017, will also be included into new exhibition space.
In addition to these changes, a new plan for The Mariners’ Museum Library will be finalized in 2017. The Museum board and staff are currently exploring options for a new building on the Museum’s campus to house the Library, Collections Storage, Conservation, and Digital Imaging. Visitors will be able to walk through this new space and observe conservators and collections experts preserving and cataloging artifacts in the new gallery.