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Development of this not-for-profit facility will transform approximately 10 acres at the southwest corner of the former Quonset Point Naval Air Station into an exciting historic attraction and family recreation center. This park will commemorate major events in the military history of Rhode Island and of the nation. The National Air/Land/Sea Combat Museum will honor members of all services who have fought to keep our country free, while the Public Service Heritage Center will salute Rhode Island's civilian heroes from law enforcement, firefighting and other non-military professions. While the nearby Quonset Air Museum (only 2000 feet away) will be the catalyst, the crown jewel of the attraction will be the decommissioned USS Saratoga, making Narragansett Bay the home of the very first super-carrier ever open to the public as a museum. Restoration of the old Blue Beach will round out a superb family attraction. The USS Saratoga, currently moored at Coddington Cove, Naval Station Newport (NAVSTA Newport), will be moored on one side of a carrier pier and will function as the centerpiece of the attraction. Plans include the preservation and renovation of historic buildings including the Mitchell Mobile Hangar and the Naval Air Rework Facility hangar (now home to the Quonset Air Museum). Projected opening of Phase I to the public is Spring, 2001. The Park's military elements will include recognition of the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard. Expressions of support and encouragement have been received from each of those services. Educational facilities and programs for all ages make up key components of the plan. The Air/Land/Sea Historic Park and Technology Center intends to become a major educational resource for surrounding towns, the State and the region. A vocational school and other business development programs will create jobs, train workers and make the rest of the park more attractive for industry. A rough estimate of the total built-out project cost is $15 million, a significant portion of which would be generated from earned revenue in future years. To provide an attraction of sufficient scope and quality to generate strong attendance, Phase I development will be in the $7.5 million range. This critical mass would include towing and mooring the carrier and preparing key spaces (such as the bridge, flight deck and hangar deck) for public viewing. Phase I would also include renovation of the Quonset Air Museum hangar, development of a centerpiece Park entrance, refurbishment of the machine shops aboard the carrier to open the first stage of the vocations school, and redevelopment of Blue Beach as a public recreation area. In addition to putting people to work immediately on construction, the Park creates 60 other direct jobs within two years and 100 direct jobs within five years. These are full-time, well-paying positions averaging $22,000 per year. Based on the combination of resident visitation, penetration of the existing tourist market, generation of new tourists and attraction of pass-through travelers, a stable year attendance projection is 550,000 visitors. These visitors will have a direct, indirect and induced impact of more than $35 million annually on the Rhode Island economy, resulting in the creation of a total of over 650 jobs. A Vision for Saratoga The USS Saratoga Museum, the centerpiece of the museum consortium in the Air/Land/Sea Historic Park, will enable the public to experience first hand the contribution and sacrifice made by the sailors of all aircraft carriers from the HMS Ark Royal in 1914 to the present day. It will also provide an opportunity to view the development of aircraft, aircraft weapon systems, communication and other technical advancement made by American industry. Externally, Saratoga will be presented as closely as possible to her operational appearance. Radars, deck markings, insignia, signal flags, and even the typical sounds will be faithfully recreated, to heighten the visitor's sense of stepping onto an operational carrier. The Museum will acquire and restore many of the aircraft typical of USS Saratoga's multigenerational air wings for static display, both on the Flight Deck and in her Hangar Bay, to enhance the vessel's sense of realism. Internally, many of the ship's spaces will be restored to give visitors an interactive adventure in the floating city she once was. At the heart of the vessel are the Combat Direction Center (also known as the Combat Information Center, or CIC), and its adjacent command and control areas. Directly above, visitors will explore the towering Island structure, with its restored Flag and Navigation bridges, Captain's At-Sea Cabin and Primary Flight Control. Below the Flight Deck level, Crew's Berthing and Mess, Officers' Wardrooms, Hospital and Dental suites, Foc'sle and Squadron Ready Rooms will also be restored to operational condition. Over time, selected engineering spaces will be opened for visitors to explore. In all, Saratoga's restoration loop will show visitors, in microcosm, how more than 5,000 sailors, marines and air crew worked and lived in this floating city. Below the main deck there will be special presentations on a number of historical, scientific and naval topics. Artifacts, maps, illustrations and video presentations will introduce visitors to the traditions, the technologies and the modern missions of the U.S. Navy and other organizations. All exhibits will be vividly interpretational, offering visitors an appreciation both for life at sea as well as the technological marvels of this particular vessel. A portion of the ship's berthing area will be offered for overnight youth excursions. Her extensive machine shops and main engine spaces will become laboratories for educational and vocational training experiences. The Museum will take every advantage of the unique architecture the Saratoga provides. Meeting rooms, dining, entertainment facilities, and school complex facilities will be located throughout the ship. On the Flight Deck the visitor will observe activities ranging from outdoor exhibits to large-scale entertainment events and even sports exhibitions. As the renaissance of Providence helps develop the infrastructure and transportation networks of Narragansett Bay, the Saratoga and other Park attractions should improve the economic viability of an active ferry service linking both Providence and Newport. This ferry service could become an important tourist attraction in its own right, as is the Circle Line in New York adjacent the Intrepid Museum. The Saratoga is envisioned not only as an inspiring American icon, but as a vibrant, living structure housing and preserving the memory of men and machinery that kept America out of harm's way for nearly 40 years. Audiences USS Saratoga Museum's broad mission speaks to a diverse set of audiences. The museum will be designed to provide each visitor with maximum access to the vessel, while still serving the specific needs of various audience groups. The museum's market can be divided into five segments: • General Public/Tourist • Trade/Commercial • Private Groups • Official Functions • Education and Training Operationally, audiences will be segregated only for limited participation events, such as trade-only shows, professional conferences, school activities and special entertainment events. General Public/Tourist By far the largest market segment, this audience consists of individuals, families, and tour groups who will come primarily for Saratoga's cultural, historic and entertainment aspects: the restored carrier, the permanent and touring exhibits, the theater presentations, the outdoor activities and special events. The general public audience consists primarily of local residents, tourists visiting Rhode Island and pass-through travelers who decide to visit the facility. The local area has a significant active and retired Navy presence, which will also visit the museum. As international markets are more clearly defined, language capabilities for overseas visitors will be made available. Trade/Commercial With approximately 20,000 ft of flexible (undedicated) exhibit space aboard Saratoga, the museum represents a significant venue for small tradeshows and similar events. Trade/commercial attendees will, of course, have access to all areas of the complex. Because of shipping, registration, meeting and other requirements, this audience will have access to separate entry facilities. Private Groups The various facilities available throughout the Saratoga will provide private organizations a uniquely attractive venue for special events. These include military reunions, sponsor dinners, charity balls, member receptions, fundraising fetes, formal dances, marketing events and location shooting for feature films and advertising. This audience will strongly represent Saratoga's corporate sponsors and will offer an opportunity for the museum to attract additional corporate sponsors. Official Functions As a Ceremonial Ship, USS Saratoga can carry on the tradition and legacy of Fleet Week, and the image of Rhode Island as the birthplace of the United States Navy. In this role, organizers plan to conduct special events on national and patriotic holidays, including 4th of July, Memorial Day, Veterans Day and of course V-J Day--still a holiday only in Rhode Island. The carrier will be an ideal location for enlistment and re-enlistment ceremonies, military weddings, award ceremonies and retirements. Education & Training Ships and planes can excite young minds. They inspire questions such as "How do boats float?" and "How do planes fly?" This Park plans to commit significant resources to programs and equipment to help future generations understand the answers to those questions, and better understand history, math and the physical sciences. At other major aviation and naval museums which sponsor strong educational experiences, there are as many as 500 students per day on class field trips to the museum during the school year. Those facilities that offer state-of-the-art technology and make the experience fun generate even larger family numbers during the summer. The carrier will also sponsor youth activities such as Young Marines, Sea Scouts and similar organizations. Another group under this heading is those involved in vocational and other job-related training programs. Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, sports leagues and other groups will be invited to experience life aboard a modern aircraft carrier. A camping program for such organized youth groups is a very popular (and profitable) program at each of the other carrier museums. Each vessel accommodates between 300 and 600 students for an overnight experience in the berthing compartments. Saratoga will be uniquely suited to attract youth groups for one and two-night overnight adventure packages. Fascinating one or two-night programs will offer a memorable educational and fun-filled experience. Up to 500 berths will be provided. Separate marketing and logistical considerations will be implemented for this audience. A Vision for Education Last year, the Summit for America's Future featured volunteerism and children as its major themes. Museums epitomize those themes; they generate millions of hours of community service from active volunteers who number in the tens of thousands. For children, museums offer a safe place to learn and grow. Institutions such as the one we propose can both be safe places, and places to impart skills and perspectives to help children recognize and even create safe places of their own. As a heritage museum, Air/Land/Sea Historic Park will be able to impart a sense of patriotism and pride in public service at an early age. Museums have become a high priority with the federal Department of Education. In June, the White House announced the first round of awards for the "21st Century Community Learning Centers", a new $40 million after-school program. Education Secretary Richard Riley has made numerous pronouncements about the "mutual interests" and "natural partnerships" between museums and schools. To be successful in today's environment, a museum (or any other cultural activity, for that matter) must also be perceived as relevant by the community it serves. The Air/Land/Sea Historic Park and Technology Center must be aware of the priorities and issues that are important to the people on whom it must depend for support. Its greatest opportunity for winning that battle lies in the field of education. Ships and planes can excite young minds. They inspire questions such as "How do boats float?" and "How do planes fly?" This Park plans to commit significant resources to programs and equipment to help future generations understand the answers to those questions, and better understand history, math and the physical sciences. Using models created by others and developing new programs of its own, the Park and Technology Center can have a significant impact on present and future generations. The phrase "build it and they will come" works for school participation in museum education programs. At other aviation and naval museums which sponsor strong educational experiences, there are as many as 500 students per day on class field trips during the school year. Those facilities that offer state-of-the-art technology and make the experience fun generate even larger family numbers during the summer. Future generations will gain from education outreach programs, using creative partnerships to inspire young students to reach for the stars and beyond. "Together, we are growing a stronger America from its grass root", wrote Peggy Young, Executive Director of the Museum of Aviation in Georgia. [Ms. Young, recently retired, has agreed to assist this project with the development of its education programs.] There are about 1.2 million students within a 150-mile radius of the Museum of Aviation, and approximately 175,000 took advantage of their outreach programs between 1990 and 1996. Listed on the following pages are some of the education-related programs this Park is pursuing. The Rhode Island Youth Science and Technology Center (YSTC) Such a center would be set up as an affiliate of one or more of our local colleges. Funding for the existing YSTC in Georgia comes from the Department of Education, local business, industry and participating school systems. Based at the Museum of Aviation, it serves teachers and students from five surrounding counties. Programs at Quonset could include: • Weekend Science: workshops in physics, chemistry, and biology • Family Science Night: participation workshops to involve the whole family. • Teacher Workshops: professional development courses for educators. • Staff Development: Units for recertification of teachers • Distance Learning: interactive audio/visual telecasts over a statewide network. During the 1995-96 school year, YSTC at the Georgia museum reached more than 2600 students, nearly 1000 teachers, and 360 others, including administrators and interested business/civic community members. Development of Curriculum Guides "Aviation in the Classroom Curriculum Guide" will be developed for use in classrooms throughout Rhode Island. This guide will be based on work developed between the Texas Department of Education and the Lone Star Flight Museum in Galveston. It would incorporate lesson plans for English, History, Mathematics and Science for grades K-12. Our challenge is to adapt this framework to the State of Rhode Island educational curriculum. After the approval and statewide distribution of the curriculum guide, the Historic Park is prepared to offer accredited workshops for school districts, designed to assist teachers in developing creative activities for their classes. The Park will also offer on-site presentations around the region and even the state. Some samples of the museum consortium's collection (easily transportable, but not easily damaged) would give the students a visual representation of some of the holdings. Among the many objectives of this program: • Identify people, places, events and ideas in aviation which significantly contributed to American and world History. • Explain how aviation has influenced American society from 1865 to present. • Acquire a basic understanding of the principles of flight by developing sufficient knowledge of aircraft structure, controls and propulsion. • Develop an appreciation for the leadership role aviation plays in the technological advances seen today. • Analyze the effects aviation will have on the United States and the World in the early 21st century. One workshop would be entitled "How Things fly". This is a perennially popular program at many institutions, including the National Air & Space Museum. Students aboard Intrepid in New York visit specially selected exhibits aboard the carrier to learn about the historical development of airplane flight and design, and compare the flight of aircraft with that of birds. By constructing paper airplanes and experimenting with different designs, they investigate the concepts of drag, lift, weight, and thrust. Similar curriculum adaptations could be made for "Science aboard Ship" projects, such as those being developed by carrier museums elsewhere. Science aboard Ship Program Similar programs at other ship museums provide a "hands-on" environment with real-world applications using various workstations and compartments located throughout the ship. Tailored for various age groups, the "hands-on" exercises range from learning the use of simple machines to the key concepts and principles of flight. Younger students will see how using a lever and fulcrum enables even the smallest of them to open a 400-pound weather door, while older students may operate sound-powered telephones and participate in a dry-cell battery experiment. As early as the second grade, youngsters can begin to understand the answer to the question, "How do boats float?" Students are introduced to the concept of floating by coming aboard the floating Saratoga, which contains more than 52,500 tons of structural steel. They compare ship models and learn about shape and function. In a hands-on workshop, students design their own boats and test the load capacity of their designs. Students of all ages can improve their knowledge of history, geography and map reading skills by following the exploits of the various ships named USS Saratoga since 1778. The students will use physical globes to discuss the history of the six ships and the location of each ship's service, and learn to plot the course of the USS Saratoga using longitude and latitude. They discover the mystery of the magnetic compass, and learn how to "dead reckon" their way about the ship. These programs are designed to provide a "hands-on" environment to enhance basic learning skills, utilizing the ship's facilities. These learning opportunities also provide a real-world perspective in history, math, and science. Live Aboard Program A camping program for organized youth groups is a very popular (and profitable) program at each of the other carrier museums. Each vessel accommodates between 300 and 600 students for an overnight experience in the berthing compartments. Seven major ship museums reported overnight encampment numbers to the Historic Naval Ships Association for 1997: more than 73,000 campers and $2.4 million in income. Starbase Kingstown Experience elsewhere has clearly demonstrated the interest and excitement created by aerospace topics inspire students to learn. Starbase would be a space-oriented program designed to reach underrepresented and underserved students in southern New England. It would provide youngsters with unique curricula of goal setting skills, hands-on science and math activities. One example of a successful program is USS Intrepid's Microgravity: Toys in Space class for fifth through seventh grades. Students examine mock-ups of Gemini and Apollo spacecraft to learn about the life support systems used in space flight. They also experiment with simple toys similar to those used by space shuttle astronauts to learn more about microgravity. A short video shows how astronauts sleep and eat in a microgravity environment. Eighth graders explore more advanced aspects of space flight. Various demonstrations introduce them to space shuttle technology, such as the thermal protection system. Through simple experiments, students simulate orbital motions, inertia, velocity, and gravity. In Georgia, a similar program also reinforces substance abuse avoidance. This project could conceivably be developed through Department of Defense funding, as has been achieved elsewhere. A similar program at the Museum of Aviation in Georgia was funded by Headquarters Air Force Reserve. Starbase would conceivably include tours of the Air National Guard and flying squadron work areas to let young people see first-hand how the classroom relates to real world occupations. The potential involvement of homegrown astronauts, such as William Readdy (who was born at Quonset Point) and Woody Spring (Ponaganset High School grad) would certainly enhance the program. Vocational and Job Training Programs The Historic Park and Technology Center will also become a resource for business development through school-to-work initiatives to be run in conjunction with area industry, colleges and technical schools. One obvious and immediate opportunity exists in the field of aquaculture, through Greg Huba's VG SeaFarm project just northwest of the carrier pier. There is a potential (and immediate) link to oceanography programs at the University of Rhode Island. On a broader scale, project sponsors plan to explore the potential for the partnering of a business incubator with vocational and technical training, led by a consortium of local colleges and technical schools. An example to follow might be that of Shipyard College at the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, a unique partnership led by Drexel University that includes the community colleges of Philadelphia, Camden and Delaware counties. Realizing that an incentive for businesses to rent space would be the availability of worker training, the Philadelphia Industrial Development Commission eagerly bought into a program through which business start-ups could lease space and take advantage of the training program at the same site. This linking of regional industry to the development and delivery of manufacturing education and training could be a boon to the overall development of the industrial park. This project could also provide the basis for the Manufacturing Technology Center (MTC) recommended in the Town of North Kingstown Comprehensive Plan. "An MTC will also provide teaching and training services and analysis, design and planning services to bridge the gap between new technologies and manufacturing in Rhode Island", says the town plan. The carrier alone has complete woodworking, welding, metalworking, engine maintenance and other machine shops aboard. These shops, plus the proposed restoration of the Mitchell Mobile Hangar, would provide well-equipped facilities for vocational training in a number of disciplines related to the park's Air/Land/Sea theme. Park sponsors will explore the possibility of Rural Development funding for this concept, similar to that provided for the boat building apprenticeships on the East Bay. The Mitchell Mobile Hangar is planned as a site to rebuild and restore vintage aircraft for other museums and individual collectors. Such a facility is sorely lacking in the northeast; virtually all warbird restoration shops are now located in Texas, California and Florida. The unique capabilities of this hangar's clamshell design make this concept feasible in the northeast. This venture would provide immediate employment opportunities for graduates of the technical training programs. Experts say the 1990s will see concentrations of business and industry in less costly and congested locations that possess the educational centers to train a labor force for emerging businesses and technology. For this reason, many installations emphasize training and education. Conclusion A museum must do far more than collect, preserve and display - it must teach. The Park will seek out professionals to help develop an educational program linking history, technology and other associated disciplines. For school children, the recent past will be put in perspective. World War II, Korea and even Vietnam are often not emphasized in today's classrooms. Showing a dramatic view of our past will help explain our heritage. For scholars and researchers, the museums will provide material for in-depth study of ships, aircraft and the services they performed. For pilots and mechanics the park will offer opportunities for training on rare and significant aircraft and engines. For veterans of all services, the museums will provide a forum in which to relive old memories and experiences, and to record these for future generations in the form of oral histories.
Museum, Education Center
- Thomas Martin
- (401) 640-3334
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