Two places visitors to ships like the USS Alabama want to visit, the engine room and the bridge. There is no doubt the battle bridge of the battleship is one of the most visited places.
Now the curator at Battleship Park and his crew have been giving the bridge a makeover. Shea Mclean says the bridge has been a perpetual victim of the environment. That’s because it was left open most of the time. That’s the way it would have been while the ship was in service, except when in combat. In those cases it could be buttoned up with the Captain and command staff inside. It’s thick armor would hopefully protect them. But because it was opened up, humidity and salt air from Mobile Bay meant constantly having to clean and repaint the area.
Mclean says now they have put springs on outside doors so that can be closed safely. Heating and air conditioning were put in to allow environmental control. It will eventually be much better for visitors. Artifacts and manikins in uniform can be used to give the impression of what life was like on the bridge of a battleship.
The curator says they even discovered the bridge had been repeatedly painted with the wrong color paint. A little archaeology work concluded the right color, what he calls ‘government green.’ It’s a color many who served in the military are probably familiar with.