By Stefanie Bainum
MT. PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) – Patriots Point officials unveiled their new museum experience master plan for the USS Yorktown Friday morning. It's a plan that will steer the museum in a new direction for the next 10 to 15 years.
Patriots Point Executive Director Mac Burdette says the master plan calls for a $5 million dollar investment in major technological improvements including adding holograms, sound effects, video screens, a multi-purpose theater and hands on elements to museum features.
"If we are going to capture new audiences we've got to bring the museum to the 21st century and that's what we intend to do," Mac Burdette says. "When the ship was brought here in 1975 there were probably 20 million WW II and Korean veterans still alive. Today there are probably less than two million so the audience has changed and if you are going to survive in the museum world you have to change with it."
The upgrades are expected to bring in an additional $1.2 million dollars in annual revenue with an additional 40,000 tickets sold each year.
Officials say new cutting-edge technology will be used to tell the stories of the ship that will appeal to a younger audience and not just military families.
Burdette says young people want an immersive experience allowing them to see and hear what might have happened on the World War II era carrier.
"That is one of our goals, to connect with our visitors emotionally and personally, and it will be telling the stories of our sailors and airmen as part of the museum experience," Burdette says.
"It's more than just tons and tons of steel. This ship is the crew members and airmen who lived and worked and even died on this ship, so trying to make sure that we connect with the visitors in a very personal way is key to them understanding how important this is."
He says he wants people to come to the Charleston area to see the Yorktown, not just stop by while they are already in town.