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SS United States

Charting a Course for America's Flagship

March 7 - September 14, 2014

SS United States: Charting a Course for America's Flagship explores the glamorous past and challenging present of one of the most famous passenger ships of all time. The exhibit spotlights the ship's Philadelphia connection, its heydey during the 1950s and 1960s, and the SS United States Conservancy's efforts to save her from destruction.

The SS United States was a spectacular, mid-century, passenger ship. The engineering achievement, born out of the brilliance of Philadelphia maritime architect William Francis Gibbs, was a symbol of American's post WWII technological might. Enthralled with the science of maritime engineering, Gibbs was intent on designing the fastest and safest trans-Atlantic ocean liner ever. When commissioned to design the world's most advanced passenger ship, his commitment to the highest technological standards produced the most graceful, modern, powerful, and sleekest vessel in the world.

After shattering the trans-Atlantic speed record on her maiden voyage, the SS United States became "America's Flagship." She carried movie stars, entertainers, socialites and royalty across the Atlantic, making more than 800 crossings during her career. But no ship could compete with the allure of the jet age. In 1969, the SS United States quietly ceased her voyages. Since then, resting in various ports, the SS United States patiently waits as enthusiasts chart a new course for America's Flagship.