A ray of hope in the form of a $250,000 contribution from an anonymous donor marks another fundraising milestone towards saving the SS UNITED STATES.
SS UNITED STATES aft superstructure at Philadelphia. Photo and copyright Peter Knego 2012.
Just a couple months ago, it appeared as though the SS UNITED STATES, after forty five years of layup since her heyday as United States Line’s record-breaking flagship, was on the verge of being scrapped if development plans did not immediately come to fruition. Finding a new home and owners to repurpose the 1952-built passenger ship for a viable static role has been an ongoing, extremely challenging process.
Today, the SS United States Conservancy announced that an anonymous donor has given $250,000 towards saving the ship. Inspired by last year’s $120,000 donation from former cruise industry executive Jim Pollin, the new contribution will, according to a statement issued by the Conservancy, “be used in the near-term for advancing our various curatorial programs, including planning for the SS United States Museum of Design and Discovery. Preliminary designs for the museum include restoring key areas of the ship to create innovative and immersive experiences for visitors.”
The conservancy’s executive director Susan Gibbs stated, “Jim’s donations have now yielded more than half a million dollars for America’s Flagship. This new major donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, is helping us build on the momentum of our encouraging redevelopment agreement announced in December. Feasibility studies for the ship’s conversion are ongoing, and many design and engineering challenges must still be overcome. However, this extraordinarily generous donation provides real wind at the sails of our efforts.”
Ms. Gibbs added, “While our new development partners continue their due diligence and planning for the repurposing of the SS United States, the Conservancy will use this generous donation to jump-start the exciting process of developing a world-class museum. We will also continue our global search and cataloging of original artifacts, artwork and ephemera from the vessel, as well as compiling and digitizing passenger and crew records, among other important projects.”
Jim Pollin added, “Last year, I asked the world to help save our flagship. I asked people to join me in ensuring this majestic piece of American history had a future. This new gift is an amazing display of confidence in the Conservancy’s vision and an acknowledgement of the ship’s historic importance for all of us.”
The SS UNITED STATES is currently moored in Philadelphia.
For more information, please contact the SS United States Conservancy at: www.ssusc.org.
Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea. With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications. Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India. He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
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