Collection of the Intrepid Museum. Gift of Joan Huffman Kelley.

Highlighting Intrepid’s Diverse Crew

Feb 01, 2021 - 8:58pm

The Museum’s permanent exhibition showcases a range of artifacts, archives, and photos to document the history of Intrepid and display the humanity behind the hardware. This month, the exhibition received a refresh with new items and interpretations that highlight the diverse crew of Intrepid.

The updated exhibition now includes A Crew of 3,000, which discusses the range of backgrounds, races, and ethnicities that made up Intrepid’s crew. The crew of about 3,000 men came from communities across the country. Many were the first in their family to enlist, while others had a family history of military service. Some were immigrants to the United States. While most crew members were white, Black, Hispanic, Indigenous American, and Asian American crew members served throughout Intrepid’s naval career (1943–1974).

The exhibition also includes Changing Policies, which shines a light on the continued discrimination people of color faced after integration and the Navy’s attempts to institute changes in the 1970s. In 1971, only 5 percent of the Navy’s enlisted members were Black—less than half the percentage in the other branches of the U.S. military. The Navy started programs to recruit more people of color and promote equal opportunity. At the same time, racial unrest rocked shore stations and ships, including Intrepid. These episodes drew attention to ongoing discrimination.

“We recognize how important it is – as a history museum – to tell the full story; these small interventions in the permanent exhibit are a meaningful way to foster a deeper understanding about all who lived and served on this aircraft carrier specifically, and provide more information about those who served in the Navy, more generally,” said Elaine Charnov, senior vice president of exhibits, education & programming.

Visitors can learn more about Intrepid’s crew through new historical artifacts and photos located in our permanent exhibition at Hangars 1 & 2.

A man and woman read an exhibit panel on Intrepid's flight deck while their child points at the propeller of an aircraft.

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