In 1957 David Macaulay, along with his mother, younger sister, and brother sailed from Southampton England to New York on the SS United States as immigrants, eventually meeting with his father who had flown over previously to begin a new life in the United States . This initial shipboard experience, at the age of ten, has stayed with Macaulay as a moment in the back of his mind for his entire life. His journey across the Atlantic serves as the narrative thread that weaves throughout both the book and the exhibition.
While serving as “Americas Flagship” the SS United States was the largest and fastest of its type and placed in the context of the post-war 1950s, the ship represents a vision of an America filled with promise. Not only a promise of luxury and refinement, but also the promise of America as a leader in the post-war era that served as one of many beacons to war-torn Europe and it’s residents.