Last weekend, the Conservancy was delighted to welcome an enthusiastic group of supporters aboard the Big U for our special members appreciation event.
Five supporters were randomly selected — along with their guests — to tour America's Flagship with award-winning author-illustrator, David Macaulay. Additionally, the group was joined by John Mark, who won our recent essay contest with a moving entry that was chosen by the author himself.
Macaulay, who traveled aboard the SS United States as a 10-year-old boy bound for his new home in America, developed a new level of appreciation for the vessel as he researched her for his latest book Crossing on Time (out now, courtesy of Macmillan/Roaring Book Press). He tapped into his seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of the ship — offering our supporters an intimate, guided tour of the ship's interior and exterior spaces.
David Macaulay poses with Big U supporters and members of the Conservancy.
Photograph courtesy of Kyle Ober.
Additionally, David took the time to get to know each of the tour participants personally, and even autographed copies of Crossing on Time for the group. The tour concluded with a champagne toast, led by the Conservancy's Executive Director Susan Gibbs — who modified the toast preferred by her grandfather, the SS United States' designer, William Francis Gibbs.
His customary toast — "To everything you want doubled, to good health, and to the big ship" — was expanded to include a tribute to Macaulay's "big book."
David Macaulay speaks with supporter John Mark, whom he chose personally to tour the ship, based on his passionate written tribute to the SS United States. Photograph courtesy of Michael Wolfe.
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to David Macaulay for helping us make this inspiring event a reality. Additionally, we'd like to thank Bill Magee, Kyle Ober, and Michael Wolfe for documenting the festivities, as well as James R. Ducker (who donated SS United States Conservancy lapel pins to each of our guests).
Finally, we'd like to thank everyone who joined or renewed their Conservancy membership in the weeks leading up to this event. Without your continued support, our efforts would simply not be possible.
Below, find more photos from our member appreciation event.