Working Below Decks, a new exhibition at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is now open in Hangar 1 on Intrepid. The exhibition includes equipment from below the decks, including a printing press, the sick bay’s operating table, and a shoe stitching machine.
Operating the aircraft carrier Intrepid required the skills of 3,000 men, many of whom worked below decks – far from the excitement of the Flight Deck. In this pop-up exhibition, the Intrepid Museum will highlight a few of these occupations through original ship’s equipment that has never been on public display before. Among the equipment to be showcased is a vintage laundry press, illustrating the demanding task of keeping the crew looking clean and pressed to Navy standards.
Working on board an aircraft carrier was difficult and dangerous, exciting and exhausting. This exhibition introduces some of the men and machines that supported Intrepid’s crew. These crew members worked tirelessly to ensure that every person on board was healthy, informed, and equipped to carry out the ship’s missions. For example, the men in Intrepid’s print shop produced the plans of the day, reports, instructions, and the ship’s newspaper, among other communications.
These pieces of equipment also offer a peek at compartments that are not currently open to the public. When Intrepid was decommissioned in 1974, the U.S. Navy left many tools and machines on board the ship. Vital to Intrepid’s operation during the ship’s active service, these devices have remained virtually untouched for nearly forty years and are being exhibited for the first time.