For nearly 50 years, whether in times of peace or war, the mission of the USS Midway (CV-41) was to successfully launch and recover its aircraft. Most of the attention, understandably so, was focused on the aviators and flight deck crews. But quietly lurking in the bowels of the carrier was a band of sailors who kept the carrier steaming and its aircraft flying.

“New exhibits give us a chance to tell more of the Midway and aircraft carrier story using the latest exhibit technology and design methods to better educate, entertain and inspire our guests.”

That said, even when the ship opened as a museum, the 30 restored military planes and many of the below-deck displays kept visitors concentrating on all that is naval aviation. Coming in 2024, however, Midway will be creating a new exhibit that will highlight the critical importance of the carrier’s unsung heroes – the engineers.

“As a former surface warfare officer as well as a ship engineer, it’s a great story we should share with our guests about this hard working and dedicated group of sailors,” said Len Santiago, Midway’s chief engineer who retired from the Navy after a 23-year career. “We are currently clearing the spaces below the hangar deck to be a clean slate for our exhibit team to provide the Midway magic in the creation of this new experience.”

An engineering exhibit has actually been on the books for several years, and was working its way to fruition until COVID stuck it back on the shelf. As the museum slowly emerged from the pandemic cloud, this new display was resurrected.

“The museum has desired to have an exhibit to tell the story of the engineering department and the importance of steam-to-ship operations since the opening of the museum,” said Mark Berlin, Midway’s director of operations who also oversees the museum’s exhibits team. “After our economic recovery from the pandemic, we were able to get back to the project. I’m happy to get the opportunity to once again approach this project.”

Working with a renowned exhibit development firm, the exhibit will be more interactive and immersive than anything that has been produced in the past. The Battle of Midway theater and its adjacent exhibit elements was the museum’s last major exhibit which opened in 2015.

“New exhibits give us a chance to tell more of the Midway and aircraft carrier story using the latest exhibit technology and design methods to better educate, entertain and inspire our guests,” said Mark, who joined the Midway team in 2006. “We will rely on internal subject matter experts to provide the information and stories about life in engineering and look forward to working with the exhibit firm to develop a meaningful and impactful experience. It’s very exciting.”

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