Wednesday, January 6, 2016

USS Maryland (Armored Cruiser 8) Ship Model

By Elijah Palmer
Hampton Roads Naval Museum Educator

(Photo by HRNM Educator Diana Gordon)
Shown here is a model of USS Maryland (ACR-8). Although not currently displayed in the main museum gallery, visitors can view it as part of the museum's 1907 exhibit on the third floor of Nauticus. The Maryland model was built by master ship model maker Greg McKay. For nearly forty years, McKay was a celebrated name among model shipwrights. His handiwork was not only appreciated by the Navy, but also by commercial shipyards and museums. The Hampton Roads Naval Museum is fortunate to have several of his models in the collection, including USS Roanoke and CSS Florida

The original USS Maryland was built at Newport News Shipbuilding and was commissioned in 1905. After serving with the Atlantic Fleet, she was sent to the Pacific where she stayed until the American entry into World War I. By that time, Maryland had been renamed Frederick so that a new battleship being built at Newport News (BB-46) could take the name USS Maryland. All the cruisers in this class were similarly renamed, including the famous USS San Diego,which was lost to a German mine. During the war, the cruiser patrolled and escorted convoys. After the Armistice, Frederick made several trips to bring doughboys back to the United States from Europe. Her postwar career was brief, however, as she was decommissioned in 1922, likely due to both her obsolescence and postwar budget cuts.
(Photo by HRNM Educator Diana Gordon)
 While the Maryland/Frederick might have been obsolete by the time she was retired, she was also a casualty of the times. During this era, naval technology was rapidly developing and changing. The US Navy experimented with many different designs, and naval building only increased after the Spanish-American War popularized the Navy. Some aspects of the armored cruiser's armament, such as the 6-inch broadside casemate guns, were a carryover from some of the earlier Steel Navy ships such as USS Chicago or USS Nashville. Yet her 8-inch turrets and streamlined appearance also evoke later designs, showcasing the cruiser's place in early 20th century naval evolution.
(Photo by HRNM Educator Diana Gordon)

Representing the Navy through a medium like photography can be a difficult task, as most images show either the whole ship from afar, or closer views of her embarked Sailors. Models like this one help us to visualize ships in a sort of happy medium, giving a sense of their scale and an appreciation of design features and details. Our museum is very grateful that our collection includes a great number of ship models to share with visitors, enriching their knowledge of the Navy's history.

1 comment:

Marcus Robbins said...

Another fine read by my friends at the Hampton Roads Naval Museum. This blog was especially interesting transitioning from the historical text, to the real photos to the images of the scaled ship model in order to share the story. Always great things to see at HRMN, and its free!