Homeward Bound: The story of the USS Indiana

The following guest post is courtesy of Bethany Nolan, who typically blogs at Art at IU. Below, Bethany describes the creation of a special multimedia presentation on the history of the USS Indiana and its memorable voyage home to Indiana University Bloomington. 

With three uncles, a grandpa and cousin who’ve served or are serving in the U.S. Navy, the sight of sailors in their dress whites always makes me a little misty.

The USS Indiana

The USS Indiana

Maybe that’s why I got so excited when my boss, Ryan Piurek, mentioned the news that Indiana University was in the process of procuring the prow of the USS Indiana, which served in the Pacific during World War II.

I loved the idea that the university I work for would be honoring veterans, particularly those who served during World War II, a period of time I personally find fascinating and one where the sacrifices of the men and women serving their country clearly changed the world we live in today.

All of that is why I got even more excited when I started chatting with Jaclyn Lansbery, a part-time employee with IU Communications, about a multimedia project involving the ship’s arrival at IU. She’d checked out a couple of projects done in Creatavist, a cool program that creates multimedia projects online, or through an application or an ebook.

We dived in, quickly finding a wealth of historical images related to the USS Indiana in the National Archives, U.S. Navy records and the IU Archives. Incredibly, the Indiana Daily Student sent a reporter to cover the ship’s launch. A train full of Hoosiers traveled to Newport News for the launch as well, all interested in witnessing history in the making.

Jaclyn even discovered historical video footage of the ship’s WWII service, which includes some fascinating glimpses of the ship underway, its sailors in action — and even a little downtime, with sailors boxing on deck.

All of those items provided rich detail for our project, which you can view here.

The USS Indiana prow was dedicated at last weekend’s football game against Navy, and is now on display outside Memorial Stadium’s west entrance. If you haven’t seen it for yourself, make time to visit a piece of our nation’s history right here in Bloomington.

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