Battleship New Jersey Revamped: Dry Dock Makeover and 360° VR Tour

Located in Camden, NJ, the Battleship New Jersey is a floating fortress of historical significance that has embarked on an unprecedented journey to merge meticulous restoration with cutting-edge technology. For the past two months, this iconic vessel has been undergoing an extensive dry dock project, setting the stage for a series of unique and immersive virtual reality tours that promise to bring the ship’s storied history to life. As the project nears completion, enthusiasts and history buffs alike have a final chance to experience the vessel in a whole new way.

The Battleship New Jersey left her home port in Camden two months ago for essential maintenance at the dry dock. Throughout this period, the crew has been working tirelessly to ensure the ship is ready and open to the public by June 29. This ambitious timeline is a testament to the team’s efficiency and success, with significant progress made on various tasks crucial to the ship’s upkeep. The final opportunity for an in-person dry dock tour will be held on Sunday, June 9, at the shipyard. Tickets for these exclusive tours can be secured through the battleship’s official website. This last chance to witness the ship in its dry dock setting is not to be missed, as the project is on track for completion by the end of June, just in time for the vessel to serve as a prime viewing spot for Fourth of July fireworks celebrations.

The comprehensive dry dock project has not only been a testament to efficiency and success but also to the power of community support. Fundraising efforts have surpassed expectations, allowing the team to tackle additional “reach” projects that were initially beyond the scope of the restoration. These enhancements are pivotal in preserving the battleship’s storied past and ensuring its continued role as a floating museum. In a bid to offer an even more engaging experience, the Wildwood Video Archive has filmed both a standard dry dock tour and a groundbreaking 360-degree virtual reality (VR) tour. This cutting-edge approach allows viewers to interact with the video content, providing an immersive experience that lets them explore scenes in all directions.

Special 360-degree cameras have been employed to capture the entire surroundings simultaneously. On YouTube, viewers can use their mouse to shift perspectives and examine different parts of the ship. Mobile phone users can tilt and move their devices to alter their viewpoint, and those with VR headsets will find the video responding intuitively to their head movements. The 360 VR tour is not just a passive experience. Viewers are encouraged to interact with the video content, creating a sense of presence and engagement that standard videos lack. The ability to look around as if physically present on the ship makes this a unique and educational tool, particularly for those unable to visit in person.

The dry dock project itself has been comprehensive, encompassing various maintenance tasks vital for the ship’s longevity. Ultrasonic testing has been used to evaluate the hull’s steel thickness, ensuring its structural integrity. Approximately 18,000 linear feet of sealant is being reapplied to the hull’s seams, and welding tasks are underway to secure a steel ring around the propeller shafts, which is essential to prevent water leakage. These efforts are backed by successful fundraising, allowing the project team to undertake additional enhancements beyond the initial scope. The commitment to maintaining the watertight integrity of the Battleship New Jersey is evident, with every task meticulously planned and executed.

The crew’s diligence in their efforts to have the Battleship New Jersey ready and open by June 29 sets the stage for it to be a prime location for Fourth of July festivities. The project’s progress and the efficiency of the timeline reflect the dedication and hard work of everyone involved. Tickets for the remaining tours can still be purchased online, and the last dry dock tour on June 9 offers a rare glimpse into the ship’s maintenance process. The virtual reality tour, meanwhile, provides an ongoing opportunity to experience the ship in a new and dynamic way. The introduction of this 360° VR tour marks a significant advancement in how historical sites can be experienced. It breaks down geographical barriers, allowing people from around the world to virtually step aboard the Battleship New Jersey and witness the intricate restoration work. This innovative approach not only enhances public engagement but also provides a valuable educational tool for history enthusiasts, students, and educators.

Feedback is requested on this innovative tour to shape future virtual reality content. The channel behind the tour is aiming to reach 100,000 subscribers, needing only 7,600 more to hit this milestone. This goal underscores the growing interest in virtual tours and the potential they hold for educational and historical content. The Wildwood Video Archive is actively seeking feedback on the 360° VR tour to refine and improve future content. This initiative aligns with their goal of reaching 100,000 subscribers on their YouTube channel, with only 7,600 more needed to achieve this milestone. Viewer input is crucial in shaping the direction of future videos, ensuring that they continue to deliver high-quality, informative, and engaging content.

As the Battleship New Jersey prepares to return to her home port, the combination of traditional dry dock tours and innovative virtual reality experiences ensures that her history and significance are accessible to a broader audience. The dedication to maintaining and enhancing this historic vessel is matched by the commitment to using modern technology to bring her story to life. Whether through an in-person tour or a 360-degree virtual reality experience, the Battleship New Jersey continues to educate and inspire, reminding us of the importance of preserving our history while embracing the future. As the project nears completion, the ship stands ready to welcome visitors once again, offering a unique blend of past and present for all to explore. The Battleship New Jersey’s return to Camden will be marked by a series of public celebrations, with the ship serving as a centerpiece for the Fourth of July festivities. Her presence will be a symbol of resilience and historical significance, reminding visitors of the importance of preserving our shared heritage.

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