Saturday, June 27, 2009

More Improvements to the tour

One of the improvements made during the Razorback veteran's work week in April was the restoration of the Small Arms locker.

All Navy ships carry a variety of small arms, usually pistols and rifles, both for security and for emergencies.

During World War II, Razorback carried .45 caliber pistols, M1 carbines, shotguns, and Thompson submachine guns.

Modern American submarines generally carry M-16 rifles, shotguns, and .45 caliber or 9mm pistols.

During her service in the Turkish Navy as Muratreis, she would have likely carried AK-74 rifles, the modern version of the AK-47.

The guns on display are non-functioning replica weapons.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Turtles are Back in Town

Now that the weather has turned warmer (OK, hotter), and the river has slowed down, the turtles have returned to the banks of the Arkansas River.

As you can see, we have a wide variety of basking turtles, from Common and Mississippi Map turtles to the Red-Eared Slider.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Digital Submarine History Available from AIMM

AIMM has finished digitizing a collection of over 100 commemorative booklets from submarines.

These booklets date from as far back as the 1930s to as recently as last year, and cover a wide variety of submarines, including diesel-powered submarines like USS Razorback, some of the earliest nuclear powered submarines and even the most modern submarines like USS Seawolf (SSN-21).

Many of these booklets are very rare, as only limited numbers were printed and handed out only to those who actually attended the event.

A complete list of the booklets in our collection can be found at:

If you have a booklet you would like to contribute to the collection, please contact the museum. If you would like to "loan" your booklets to us, we would be happy to scan them and return them to you.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

New Exhibit at AIMM

New AIMM volunteer Mike Hopper recently completed a new exhibit on the monitor USS Arkansas (BM-7).
(Photograph from the Library of Congress archives)
The second U.S. Navy ship to bear the state's name, the monitor Arkansas was the lead ship of her class, and one of the last monitors built for the U.S. Navy as they transitioned from sail to steam in the period around the turn of the last century.

Monitors were the first vessels built with guns in rotating turrets, rather than being fixed in place. Steam powered and built with armored hulls, they revolutionized naval warfare during the American Civil War.

However, they suffered from one major defect. With their low decks, the had poor seagoing capability. In fact, the first such vessel, USS Monitor, sank during the Civil War not from enemy fire, but during a storm off Cape Hatteras.

(Photograph from the U.S. Navy History and Heritage Center, Washington, DC)
The monitor Arkansas, commissioned in 1902, was designed to take advantage of the previous 40 years of ship design since USS Monitor had been built. For example, she was able, during her career, to sail as far south as the Panama Canal.

After serving as a training vessel at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD for several years, she was renamed USS Ozark in 1909 in order to free up the name "Arkansas" for a battleship then under construction (USS Arkansas (BB-33), which served in both World War I and World war II).

Largely obsolete due to rapidly advancing technology, she was converted to a submarine tender, to provide support to a new type of warship that was, in turn, revolutionizing naval warfare all over again.

She was decommissioned after World War I and sold for scrapping in 1922.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

New Digitial Submarine History at AIMM

AIMM is continuing to add to its online digitial archive of submarine documentation.

The first is a recruiting brochure from WWII, titled "See Action Now! with the Submarine Service" It describes the "many modern comforts and conveniences" found aboard a submarine. A sample dinner menu is given:

Tomato Soup
Sirloin Steak
Brown Gravy - Baked Potatoes
Fresh Frozen Corn and Peas
Fresh-Baked Rolls - Butter - Jam
Strawberry Shortcake

This booklet describes how submarine sailors get "responsbility and advancement", "rewards", "the highest pay in the Navy" and "Above all - ACTION!"

This second brochure from the 1960s with its somewhat contrived title includes information aimed at teens, as it describes training programs for high-school students. However, it also describes the advanced technical training for programs such as nuclear power and ballistic missiles.

Each of these brochures provides a window into the Navy's past, and electronic copies are available upon request. Just send an e-mail to the AIMM staff.