FALL RIVER, Mass., Aug. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire/ — Pearl Harbor is arguably the pivotal episode in the trajectory of World War II. But with the passage of time and passing of the war’s veterans, the memory of what happened at Pearl Harbor and how it changed the course of world events may be fading.
As the country marks the 70th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack in 2011, the Pearl Harbor Experience at Battleship Cove uses experiential programming and state-of-the-art special effects technology to immerse visitors in the day that committed America to war.
“We are immensely proud of being the only historic ship site doing anything like this,” says Executive Director Brad King. “We are introducing an exciting new experience seldom found within the museum world, connecting the audience with those men and women whose lives were permanently changed by the attack.”
With The Pearl Harbor Experience, visitors step into an environment recreating an undefined portion of the Naval complex at Pearl Harbor. Surrounded by the look, feel and sounds of 1941, they are immersed in period-appropriate details suggesting the island locale. Suddenly, you become an eyewitness to history and the action unfolds around you. Approaching planes roar, machine guns chatter, falling bombs explode and a torpedo streaks through the water toward the USS Massachusetts, which plays the part of the battleships actually moored at Pearl Harbor. It is Sunday morning, December 7, 1941, and “you are there.”
When Mr. King took the helm of Battleship Cove in 2010, he was harboring a vision to make Battleship Cove a more dynamic experience. With the support of the Board of Directors, he brought on board Museum Consultant and Experience Designer Lawrence Fisher and his team of associates. From there, the idea of hosting a reenactment of Pearl Harbor took shape.
“If you can’t get to Pearl Harbor, Pearl Harbor is coming to you,” Mr. King said. Research and conceptual design progressed into design development, and production and implementation soon followed. Battleship Cove plans to start the experience for the public on Friday, August 12, 2011. “We’ll still be tweaking and adjusting things,” he said, “but all the elements will be there.”
While The Pearl Harbor Experience is designed to entertain, Mr. King noted that an important goal is to encourage people to learn more about the lessons of Pearl Harbor. “By engaging the audience emotionally in an immersion experience, we hope to inspire them to explore further and visit the Museum’s exhibitions and memorials with a new perspective.” Battleship Cove is home to Massachusetts’ official Pearl Harbor Memorial and is located adjacent to the Braga Bridge, which honors Charles M. Braga Jr., a Fall River native who died at Pearl Harbor.
Presented as part of the general admission to the Museum, The Pearl Harbor Experience at Battleship Cove will run several times each day during the summer operating season.
The thematic area of The Pearl Harbor Experience encompasses the outdoor spaces along the Museum’s waterfront, including the complex of buildings housing the PT Boat displays; the dock area and the access ramps; portions of the USS Joseph P. Kennedy and USS Massachusetts; and the enclosed waters bounded by the shoreline and these vessels. While neither of these historic ships was actually present on that fateful day, they form a fitting backdrop for this unique experience.
Battleship Cove is a nonprofit maritime heritage museum, comprising five National Historic Landmarks and the world’s largest and most diverse collection of historic Naval ships. For more information and directions, visit www.battleshipcove.org.