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Home > August 2014 > From the Collection: Nurse and Anderson
From the Collection: Nurse and Anderson
Posted: 8/4/2014 9:24:57 AM

Individual artifacts and collections have deep meanings on their own, but when items can be combined to tell more complete stories, they become richer information sources. An example of this is illustrated in the Ralph Nurse and Robert “Bob” Anderson Collections. Both men served on Intrepid in the V-6 division as aviation ordnancemen during World War II.

Ralph Nurse’s daughter donated the first pieces of his collection in 2012, which consisted of uniform components and souvenirs. In subsequent years Ralph’s diary, archives and photographs were donated to the Museum. In 2014, Bob Anderson’s family contacted the Museum to donate images and documents from his service. On the back of one of Anderson’s photos were the names of men in the picture. One name immediately jumped out: Ralph Nurse! After reaching out to both the Nurse and Anderson families, the Museum found out that Ralph and Bob had maintained a friendship after the service. Both families were delighted that these two friends had their collections reunited at the Museum.
Group Shot

This photograph of crew members on Intrepid helped the Museum piece together the relationship between Ralph Nurse and Robert Anderson. Nurse is second from the left on the top row and just to the right is Anderson. Anderson wrote down the contact information for Nurse and the other crew members on the back of the image. (Collection of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Gift of the Family of Robert P. Anderson Jr. 2014.15)
This past Memorial Day, Ralph Nurses’ family dedicated a Seat of Honor in our theater and requested that his plaque be placed next to Anderson’s, which was installed the previous year. Stories like this help the Museum understand how relationships were formed on Intrepid that impacted the men for the remainder of their lives.
Anderson and Nurse

Robert Anderson and Ralph Nurse, along with the women who would become their wives in a picture from World War II. (Collection of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum. Gift of the Family of Robert P. Anderson Jr. 2014.15)
As former crew members and their families donate collections to the Museum, more and more of these reunited histories are coming to our attention. On August 16, the Museum will open a temporary exhibition, Objects in Conversation, which will tell more stories like Bob and Ralph’s and highlight how collections are more powerful together than alone.

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