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Meet the Conservancy: Emerson Jones, Curatorial Associate

The Conservancy is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for the SS United States, with the goal of creating an inspiring future for this magnificent ship.

Today, we’re speaking with the Conservancy’s Curatorial Associate, Emerson Jones, who plays an important role in growing our permanent collections.

Emerson graduated from Columbia University with a degree in the History and Theory of Architecture, excavated at Hadrian’s Villa outside of Rome, and has taken part in the sail training program at the South Street Seaport Museum in New York.

Emerson Jones, the Conservancy's Curatorial Associate.

How did you get involved with the SS United States Conservancy?

I grew up hearing stories of the SS United States from my dad, whose family had a stormy Atlantic crossing aboard her in 1969. As I learned more about the ship, I was inspired to get involved in the effort to save her, and in 2016 I became a Conservancy intern. Last year, after graduating from college, I returned to the Conservancy as Curatorial Associate.

What is your role as the Conservancy's Curatorial Associate?

I facilitate artifact donations to the Conservancy, working with donors to add their SS United States memorabilia to the Conservancy’s ever-expanding permanent collection. Of course, every artifact comes with a story, and that’s the other big part of my job: talking to people who sailed on the SS United States and keeping their stories alive for future generations. I also have the occasional pleasure of helping to plan exhibitions and events and conducting research on the ship’s history.

In your work with the Conservancy thus far, what are you most proud of?

Last fall, I had the opportunity to research the history of the women artists who created ship’s cutting-edge interiors. It was both exciting and humbling to help bring to light the stories of those pioneering artists who turned the SS United States into a testing ground of modernist design.

What are you looking to accomplish with the Conservancy in the future?

Saving the SS United States means more than saving the ship. It means preserving her history, from postcards to blueprints, swizzle sticks to passengers’ recollections. I want to continue to grow the collection to reflect the experiences of the everyday people — construction workers, cooks, passengers, artists — who are part of the irreplaceable history of the SS United States.


Help us secure a bright future for The Big U by making a generous donation.

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