As President of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, I was honored when Craig Newmark approached us about participating in his CraigConnects challenge to raise money and awareness for Veterans initiatives. Here at Intrepid, we are passionate about honoring our Veterans by educating the public about our service men and women and the sacrifices they have made to protect the freedoms we take for granted. We actively support this initiative through events and programs that help to build awareness and engage the public about our veterans’ history of service and sacrifice.
Intrepid’s mission is to honor our heroes, educate the public, and inspire our youth. Visitors to the Museum learn about Intrepid within the context of world history, understanding global events including World War II, the Cold War, NASA recovery missions, and Vietnam. The museum provides a dynamic environment, recounting the “humanity behind the hardware” – human stories behind the machinery on display.
The Museum also tells the history and events that impacted the more than 3,000 crew members who lived onboard this “city at sea” at any one time. Many of our Former Crew Members return to the ship on a regular basis and interact with our guests, telling stories about their time aboard Intrepid. I am continually moved by these particular heroes and the living history they bring to our staff and our visitors. They help us put a face on the experiences of Veterans and reinforce why each and every one of us should support these brave men and women.
In addition to educating the public, Intrepid also supports Veterans through our Access programs. On June 29, we proudly partnered with the VA Hospital’s Visual Impairment Services Team in New York and the Blinded Veterans Association to offer guided verbal description and touch tours for veterans with low vision and their families. Participants, including veterans, staff from the VA, grandchildren and wives, were led in small groups by museum educators trained in providing these unique and tailored programs. The tour incorporated artifacts like a pilot signal mirror and life vest, and guided touch of the Crusader, Blackbird and Avenger to allow the veterans to gain a clear understanding of the collection through touch.
Intrepid has also been working with the Blind Veterans Association on our new tactile visitors’ guide and verbal description audio tour that we are designing for visitors who opt for a self-guided experience. This project, along with our touch tours, is funded by the NY State Council on the Arts. The funds raised through Craig’s challenge will allow us to do more of these programs and also to provide additional programs for Military families affected by physical and/or developmental disabilities such as autism.
I am humbled every day to be a part of this museum, and its outreach to our Veterans and Active Military. These are our heroes, and we thank them whole-heartedly for their service to our country. It is our honor to support them.
As President of New York City’s Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, Susan Marenoff-Zausner is responsible for overseeing the nationally recognized cultural institution and its world-class educational, inspirational and engaging experiences for its nearly one million visitors annually.