Intrepid Museum Dives Deep into Cold War History

May 2, 2018

Between 1960 and 1964, the USS Growler (SSG-557) sat hidden in waters off the coast of Russia while the United States and the Soviet Union were locked in a high-stakes political and ideological war.

This month, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is unveiling a new exhibit, centered on Growler and its pivotal role in the Cold War. A View from the Deep: The Submarine Growler & the Cold War opens May 11, 2018.

Docked at Pier 86 and part of the Intrepid Museum’s permanent collection, Growler has been recently restored to ensure its long-term preservation. A View from the Deep, located adjacent to the submarine in a 1,500-square-foot custom-designed building on the pier, explores the submarine’s top-secret role in the Cold War through interactive experiences, historical artifacts, oral histories and personal diaries from the vessel’s former crew members.

Visitors weave through the exhibition and the story in six sections—taking a deep look at the arms race between the United States and the Soviet Union, from post-World War II tension and the development of the atomic bomb, to the advent of powerful underwater weapons like Growler and its nuclear missiles.

A View from the Deep is free and open to the public, and guided tours of Growler are included with the price of museum admission. The submarine’s narrow passageways and small watertight doors and stairs, however, can be a barrier for some visitors who want to experience the interior of the submarine.

Intrepid collaborated with SCENE Lab at the Stevens Institute of Technology to bring the sensory experience of a working submarine to a fully accessible building, also on Pier 86.

Within the exhibition, an immersive environment will demonstrate how Growler‘s various systems hummed and vibrated while the submarine was in service; a sonar experience will position visitors in the role of sonarmen, who were essential for avoiding detection; and a virtual 3D model will illustrate the submarine’s complexity as a piece of technology with numerous interconnected systems.

The exhibition will provide deeper context for Growler and its era of service while offering visitors a glimpse at life aboard the submarine.

Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Teach & Travel magazine.

Photo courtesy of Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.