The Noble Maritime Collection presents Andrea Doria: Rescue at Sea, an exhibition about the 1956 sinking of the SS Andrea Doria and the rescue of her passengers.
The exhibition will be on view from June 16, 2022 through June 2023. There will be an opening reception on Thursday, June 16 from 6 to 8 PM.
The SS Andrea Doria was the pride of postwar Italy. A glamorous transatlantic ocean liner, she was a “floating art gallery” and a marvel of midcentury modern design. She carried celebrities as well as Italian immigrants to new opportunities in America.
On July 25, 1956, the Swedish liner MS Stockholm collided with the Andrea Doria, which was en route to New York. The subsequent rescue was one of the most dramatic and well-documented in sea history.
The Andrea Doria foundered 11 hours after the collision, and now lays on her starboard side 250 feet below the surface, about 50 miles from Nantucket.
The exhibition will feature objects and artifacts from the extensive collection of diver and researcher John Moyer, Salvor in Possession of the Andrea Doria.
In addition to numerous rare photographs and artwork, on display will be a lifering from the Andrea Doria, as well as china from all passenger classes, pottery, glassware, silverware, and the ship’s brass bell, recovered by Moyer and a team of divers.
The exhibition was developed with the guidance of survivor, educator, author, and filmmaker Pierette Domenica Simpson, who is the gatekeeper of Andrea Doria survivor stories. She is the author of the books Alive on the Andrea Doria!: The Greatest Sea Rescue in History and I Was Shipwrecked on the Andrea Doria! The Titanic of the 1950s
Archival newsreel footage of the Andrea Doria’s maiden voyage, the collision, and the rescue of her passengers—all provided by the Sherman Grinberg Library—will be shown in the exhibition on a converted Firestone television from 1956, the year of the sinking.
The exhibition also includes underwater footage shot by Bill Campbell and Billy Deans of John Moyer and a team diving to the wreck and recovering two 1,000-pound ceramic mural panels by Italian artist Guido Gambone (1909-1969).
In 1993, Moyer was awarded an Admiralty Arrest in US Federal Court and named Salvor in Possession of the wreck. In the ruling, US District Judge Joseph H. Rodriguez stated Moyer’s “research and archeological documentation of his effort indicate a respect for the Andrea Doria as something more than just a commercial salvage project.”
Photographs of some of the Andrea Doria survivors are featured in the exhibition, including Simpson, who, at nine years old, was immigrating to the United States with her grandparents, Pietro and Domenica Burzio, to start a new life with her mother Vivian, who had moved to Detroit eight years earlier to pursue the American Dream.
Simpson wrote and produced the 2016 documentary Andrea Doria: Are the Passengers Saved?, directed by Luca Guardabascio of Rome. To mark the 66th anniversary of the sinking, the film will air in New York City and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut on CUNY TV on Saturday, July 23 at 11:00 PM, Sunday, July 24 at 3:00 PM, Monday, July 25 at 6:00 AM and 12:00 PM, and Tuesday, July 26 at 12:00 PM.
A DVD of the film will be available to purchase in the museum’s shop, as well as both of Simpson’s books.
For more information about Simpson’s work, visit pierettesimpson.com and Andrea Doria: Are The Passengers Saved? The Movie.
For more information on Moyer's work, visit Moyer Expeditions LLC.
For more information about the exhibition, visit noblemaritime.org/andrea-doria.
This exhibition was made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; a Humanities New York SHARP Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal American Rescue Plan Act; and by a grant from the Lily Auchincloss Foundation. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
The exhibition was curated by Megan Beck, Ciro Galeno, Jr., and Michael McWeeney.
The Noble Maritime Collection, located in a former mariners’ dormitory at Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Building D, Staten Island, New York, is open from 12 until 5 PM, Thursdays through Sundays. Admission is by donation.
For more information about the museum, call (718) 447-6490 or visit noblemaritime.org.