Posts Tagged ‘Exhibit’

More Exhibit things

Lost Subs, Memorial Ceremony, The Exhibit | Posted by Rebekah
Jul 21 2010

Well, one day closer to the memorial weekend, and if you need a hotel and haven’t gotten around to it yet, you might want to move.  In addition to the Holiday Inn, the museum also has some rooms at Shoreline Inn across the street. Depending on the room, both hotels have views of Muskegon Lake, and are within walking distance of the Frauenthal Theater, the Hackley and Hume Homes, Hackley Park, and LST-393 Museum (for another taste of WWII Naval History, this time, the European Theater!) plus a number of small independent stores and restaurants.   (Walking distance here being defined as within a mile)  My favorite food store in the whole world is only about a mile and a half away from those hotels too. Be careful if you visit, it’s ADDICTING.

I understand that the episode of Dive Detectives is beautiful and haunting,or at least, so I’m told.  The staff at the museum decided to run the movie completely through their system so they could get a replacement copy in time if there was a problem or glitch, and wouldn’t you know it, none of them seemed to have anything else to do while the test was running!  Some of you don’t know this, but I’m an independent contractor for the museum, and actually live about five hours away by car, so I haven’t seen it yet either!   AAArrghh!  But they said it was a beautiful film, very well done, so hopefully, we’ll all like it.

Here you see the scale depths of the five submarine wrecks discovered since 2005, as well as an overhead silhouette of a WWII-era submarine done to the same scale. (The triangles representing the wrecks are not to scale, but the depths are) All of these wrecks with the exception of the Grunion were explored using human divers.

One of the biggest problems they had in filming was the depth of the Flier herself.  Of the five submarines discovered since 2005, Flier is the deepest except for the Grunion.  She is, in fact, at the very edges to human endurance using SCUBA gear underwater.  For every dive aboard the Flier, which was three hours long, the divers were only able to take ten minutes on the Flier herself, so while they apparently did an amazing job filming, they were still limited to short takes and quick passes, since they had to document as quickly as they could.  If permission is granted later for a more thorough survey of the submarine, it would likely be done by ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) since they don’t have to take the precautions human divers do.

That being said, it is still, apparently, amazing.  If we weren’t down to one car now, I’d be half tempted to drive the 10-hour round trip to see it!

I’m finishing up the memorial booklet now.  I ended up doing the covers, Flier’s Story pages and the Flier’s crew page.  I finished everything except for the crew page, which is in the final stages right now.  (It’s really difficult to fit 79 men on two pages!) I hope everyone likes it, but you now know who to blame if you don’t!

As soon as this is done, I have to update some pages and work on the permanent exhibit layout.  Whew!  This is so going to be worth it!

New Look!

The Exhibit | Posted by Rebekah
Feb 22 2010

Well, after a weekend of my husband and I learning the rudimentary ropes of website design and updating, we have a new look as you can see.  This is part of the branding of the Flier I spoke about yesterday.   I’ve also designed covers for potential programs, letterhead, and promotional materials to see if the motifs can work back and forth across the various medias needed, and part of how it will look is seen above.

It’s not perfect.  Partially because for some reason, while the header and sides were originally designed in .jpg format, which allowed me to play as much as I wanted, the footer was a .gif.

Don’t ask me what the difference is, I don’t know myself.  What I DO know, is that apparently, .gifs can only do greyish colors and no gradients or anything fun.  So the color palette had to be overhauled so that the sides would match the bottom.  Oh well.  It’s not worth worrying that much over.

So you can start to see what I’m thinking of doing here.  The image of the submarine is actually the Flier herself, taken on the 20 of April on training runs off the coast of California.  I love this image (and its twin, the stern shot) because many of the men are standing on the deck, reminding me that its not a machine of steel and brass that I’m working on memorializing, but the men who went with her and didn’t come back home.  It’s easy to talk about remembering the Flier, memorializing the Flier, building an exhibit about the Flier, but this image reminds me that when I say “Flier”, I mean her 84 crewmen, especially the 76 who never came back home and left their families behind.

The Bow-on shot with the Flier's men standing on the deck

Some of my family members are amused by my resistance to reading sad books or watching sad movies, yet my near-obsession with this project and the fact that I have a huge file full of photographs of these men, reminding me of WHO these guys were.  I guess in a way, as an artist (since that is what I have my college degree in, truth be told) I feel like I’m bringing their characters to life in the best way I can with the skill that I have.   It’s a sad tale, true, since so few survived, but they sacrificed themselves willingly.

The Stern of the Flier taken the same day, with more men on the deck. All too soon, this behavior would be forbidden, since in an emergency, the fewer men on the surface to get inside the quicker a sub could submerge. Some men would go months before they saw the sun again.

My husband was in the Marine Reserves when we met, and he drove me home every month during his training weekend to visit my family.  We got to know each other well on those trips.  In the dead of winter once, I asked him how his training weekend went, and he told me how they went far north in Michigan and camped in the drifts of snow, and marched through deep drifts covered in ice crusts that exhausted them having to punch through, and how hard it was to keep up at times.  He was stating this matter-of-factly, but I started to feel sorry for him and say so.  After the third time or so of me saying, “Oh I’m sorry,” he turned to me and said, “Why do you keep saying that?  You asked me how my weekend was, and that is how it was, but I don’t feel sorry for myself or the other Marines in my platoon and I don’t like you feeling sorry for me either.  I signed up to do this to protect my family and friends, and country and I do so willingly, even it is hard or cold or if we get called up to go somewhere for months at a time.  It’s an honor to serve, and if necessary, it’s an honor to die so my family and friends and even you can live in freedom.  So stop feeling sorry for me.”

It was a hard lesson to learn, but since then, I’ve heard it echoed in many other active duty and veteran’s voices:  It’s an honor to serve and protect my country, I don’t want your pity for my tough life.  Just do your best, and remember those who gave everything.

So here I sit, a civilian married to a former Marine  (Medical Discharge, long story), with members of my family coming from the Army, Air Force, Marines, and perhaps soon another Sailor, doing my best.  I hope it’s enough.

Exhibit Update

The Exhibit | Posted by Rebekah
Feb 20 2010

We’re at that spot right now where the exhibit continues, but my portion of it is stalled.  It’s in the hands of others, so here I sit, not really able to move forward, but still laying the groundwork for the exhibit when it finally gets off the ground.

I’m working on developing the Flier brand for this exhibit, which isn’t as commercial as that sounds.  All a brand is really, is a standard of presentation.  Most companies, universities, schools, professional organizations, use brands which include a color palette, certain fonts to use, official insignias, letterhead, and anything else desired.  The idea is that everything associated with that “brand” is all tied together and looks uniform and well designed.  This is especially important in  organizations like museums or universities where more than one department might independently develop brochures or websites for their areas separately from the “official” advertising department.

When you see the same thing over and over, you start to recognize it.  When people see a big gold block “M” on a dark blue background, you automatically recognize the University of Michigan.  A green squarish “S” with on a white background is Michigan State University.  No need for thinking, no need for trying to remember where you last saw that.  It’s been presented over and over again until you recognize these two organizations with a glance.  That is good branding.  And I’ll guarantee, that both these universities have standards that say precisely WHICH shades of blue, gold, green and white (yes, there are multiple different “shades” of white just as there are black) that those are, and which fonts to use in a brochure, how those symbols are to be presented and how they are not.

They don’t, unfortunately, tell you how to have a peaceable home during the Michigan/Michigan State game.

You know you're from Michigan if....half of your family won't talk to the other half during the U of M vs. MSU game.

So I’m working on developing the overall look and color palette for the Flier materials, which will be used in letterhead, promotional materials, the exhibit itself, ect.  I did a large one for the exhibit hall, so this has to be related, but distinct.  It’s not hard, but it is tricky.  It has to look “naval”, all the colors have to work with all the others so any of them can be used with any of the others, the fonts have to be interesting, clear, and able to work well at 6 points tall as well as six inches (or six feet).  I think I played with some 60 shades of gray for the last palette before choosing two.

Just a simple chore, but if I do it now, it’s set for later when I can start.  I am playing with a palette that’s primarily dark blue, blue-black and silver gray as the base, so we’ll see.  It’s a little dark, so I have to pick some lighter colors to offset that, or everyone will need Prozac before leaving the exhibit!

In partnership with the Bowfin, we’re also working on tracking down the surviving family members of the Flier and the Flier Survivors.  If you are one and happen to read this, please contact me at  or Charles Hinman at  We’re working on a rather large project I hope to announce soon.

Exhibit Update

The Exhibit, Where was Flier 66 years ago today? | Posted by Rebekah
Feb 09 2010

Well, the formal proposal is finished.  11 custom graphics for it.  And of course, as is normal, I realized after I sent it that I forgot a few things and had to send several addendums in follow-up e-mails.  Oh well.

One of the fun things to do with the proposals is establish a basic exhibit, then build layers on top of it.  It’s rather like a menu.  If you get past the baseline you can start to pick and choose what you want for additions.  Whether you want floor graphics, or touchscreen interactive documentaries or quizzes, or what.  It’ll be interesting to see what this will end up looking like.  Once I get clearance to show what we have in mind, I’ll post it here.

One of the most interesting things about this exhibit is working with the crew of the USS Redfin, the submarine that not only rescued the Flier survivors, but who also, four months previously, dropped off the Coastwatchers that sheltered them and set up the rescue.   The Redfin survived WWII, then went on to serve until 1969.  Her crew gets together every year to tour, swap stories, and in general, have a good time.  They’re very good at that, and very welcoming (not to mention, hilarious).

When they had their 2008 reunion in Muskegon, they asked me to talk about the Flier and Redfin’s rescue.  It was one of the best evenings in my life.  The next year, they contacted us to say that one of their number had located the Redfin’s bell and, on the condition we put it on display, they wanted to donate it to the museum and in particular, to the long-talked about Flier exhibit.

Submarines tended to leave their bells behind when they left on patrol.  If they remained mounted to the exterior of the submarine, it could ring during the concussions of a depth charge attack, allowing their enemy to hone in and target the sound.  If they brought it inside, it would just use up valuable storage space.  Moreover, if they never came back, their bell could serve as a memorial.  Some of these bells are used for that purpose today.  Some, due to the fact they’re made of nearly 100 pounds of solid brass, were sold and melted down.   (The bell for the USS Narwhal was rescued from the scrap metal heap only a few years ago and is now at the Bowfin Museum inPearl Harbor,  Hawai’i: )

It is tradition to ring a bell in memory of lost boats and their crews.  The Redfin bell will do that for the lost Fliers and nearly 3500 men who have given their all in the submarine service.

The Flier’s bell is still missing.  It may have been destroyed decades ago.  It may exist somewhere, long forgotten in someone’s attic.  If anyone ever finds an old brass bell engraved “USS Flier 1943 (or possibly 194)” we would love to hear from you so she can sit next to her sister.

And where was Flier 66 years ago today?  About halfway back to the United States.