Magazine article Sunset

Plug in to Living History with New Cassette Tour of Liberty Ship Jeremiah O'Brien

Magazine article Sunset

Plug in to Living History with New Cassette Tour of Liberty Ship Jeremiah O'Brien

Article excerpt

Plug in to living history with new cassette tour of Liberty Ship Jeremiah O'Brien

Volunteer-staffed tourist attractions often resort to pamphlets to guide visitors when docents are scarce. But San Francisco's S.S. Jeremiah O'Brien, last of World War II's famous Liberty Ships, offers a new twist--a taped self-guided tour that you listen to with a borrowed headset as you clamber about the great welded-steel decks on your own.

Based on interviews that create oral history of the liveliest sort, the tape is the inspiration of theater artist Chris Hardman, whose avant-garde Antenna Theater has won numerous awards here and in Europe. You hear a montage, interlaced with scraps of period music, of voices from the war effort of the early '40s-- FDR's, Rosie the Riveter's, and that of a very seasick young radio operator. Over a two-year period, more than 50 Bay Area residents who built, repaired, and sailed Liberty Ships in wartime contributed reminiscences to help bring that era back to life for this project.

As you learn more about the O'Brien and what it and other civilian-built supply ships meant to those who worked on them, the ship's mate directs you from one location to another--wheelhouse to engine room, officers' quarters to cargo holds. …

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