Known for being one of the largest ships ever built, today, the Queen Mary is permanently docked in Long Beach, California, and serves as a public attraction and educational site. An essential facet of military history, naval ships serve as a wonder of technological ingenuity, craftsmanship, and naval battle strategy. Kris Schave, a longtime supporter of the preservation of naval ships and histories, hopes to educate the public on a variety of influential ships and aid in the financial support of 20th-century vessels. Today, Kris Schave will discuss the Queen Mary, her history, and the importance of preserving the Long Beach-based ship.
The Queen Mary’s construction began in December of 1930 as an entry into the unofficial shipbuilding race Britain held with Germany, who had just launched the Bremen and Europa. The ship was named after Mary of Teck, Queen of the United Kingdom, Empress of India, and wife of King George V. The Queen Mary’s maiden voyage took place in May 1936, where she won the Blue Ribland just two months later. The Blue Riband is an unofficial title given to passenger liner’s crossing the Atlantic Ocean with the record highest speed crossing. In 1937, the Queen Mary lost the title to the SS Normandie in 1937, before recapturing it in 1938 and holding the title till 1952.
Queen Mary’s Cultural Significance
The Queen Mary features some of the most elaborate interior designs aboard an ocean liner and was significantly influenced by the Art Deco movement of the 1920s and 1930s. A large number of the ship’s interior includes geometric forms as well as strong curves. Today, the Queen Mary is considered to be one of the best examples of the Art Deco style still preserved today. Many of the ship’s murals were designed by Doris Zinkeisen, whose work often explored mythology, animals, and nature.
On average, more than 1.5 million Americans visit naval museums each year. Naval history is an important part of American history and allows citizens to better understand the many accomplishments of the Navy, its part in national defense, and how the Navy can continue to support American causes in the future. Perhaps most importantly is the ability of these vessels to preserve the memory of the naval men and women who have served and allow other Americans to be inspired by their service.