SS United States exhibit


The Steam Ship (SS) United States exhibit features objects from the ship as well as a model. SSUS is the fastest passenger liner ever built. It was constructed at the Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company on the Virginia coast and put in service in 1952. Designed by William Francis Gibbs of Gibbs and Cox, New York City, it was built by the United States Maritime Commission to be leased to the United States Lines (USL). It was intended to be America’s flagship in the transatlantic passenger trade; however, it was also constructed to be easily converted to a troop transport vessel should the need arise. It is currently in dry dock in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.


  • 990 feet long
  • 101 feet beam (width)
  • Rises 175 feet from keel to top of the forward funnel
  • Gross tonnage 53,330
  • Four steam turbine engines were rated at a combined 240,000-shaft horsepower
  • Four propellers drove it at an official speed of 38.32 knots (44 miles per hour)
  • Rumored that it made up to 45 knots during trials
  • Believed the engines were never run at their maximum ratings during operations

Artifacts donated by F. Samuel Bauer