Pampanito Museum

Drawing of exterior of the museum with the submarine
Artist rendering of the future museum.

The Maritime Park Association is planning to establish a museum/exhibit space adjacent to USS Pampanito. A small museum will greatly improve our operation of the submarine, both in terms of the visitor's experience, and as a means of providing handicapped access which we can not provide on the submarine itself. It would increase the visitor's understanding of the submarine, her history, and what life was like on board. This additional space will also give us the room to develop educational programs to better serve the many school and scout groups that visit the submarine.

Space on board a submarine is obviously very limited, claustrophobic to many. Pampanito is being restored authentically, and we have not cluttered the limited onboard space with exhibits, and signs. We chose instead a recorded audio system for the interpretation. This keeps the submarine, the main attraction, free of extraneous materials. The museum will provide space to explain more of the history, technology and life of the sailors.

The museum will be in keeping with the high standards established by the operation of Pampanito. This is a large undertaking that will have to be done in phases. The final goal would be a small but "world class" museum that would be considered not just an extension of the submarine, but also as a stand alone attraction in it's own right.

Examples of artifacts we have collected for exhibition include the conning tower of USS Roncador, complete with a Torpedo Data Computer. We have a working WW II periscope that will be mounted in the conning such a way that it protrudes through the roof of the pier shed and offer visitors a sweeping panorama of the Bay area that would include the Golden Gate Bridge, the Bay, and Coit Tower. We also have the submarine model built by ABC for the film War and Remembrance, on long term loan to us. The model is an incredibly accurate and detailed WW II submarine that is 26 feet long, and weighs over a half ton. Anyone who visited Pampanito in drydock will always remember the incredible whale shape of a submarine below the waterline. A 26' model in a small museum space would have much the same impact. Many other types of exhibits are possible. We also have many artifacts, documents, and photographs that could also be developed into museum exhibits.

We have created a basic architectural plan for the project and have negotiated a long term lease with the port of San Francisco. We are now seeking funding.

Drawing of interior of the museum with the conning tower
Artist rendering of the future museum.


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