Rebuilding the top of the dome...

the hangers on

Yes, I'll start with the above hero shot, which includes Lee Mattis, TEMCOR tech rep on site during the dome construction (second from left), UT2 (SCW) Robert Pellegrino, an active-duty Seabee (third), Jerry Marty (fourth) and John Perry, Navy engineer when the dome was built (fifth), standing beneath the top ring of the dome, which they'd just completed assembling and hanging (at 1632 on 14 July 2011) in the new about-to-open Seabee Museum just outside the Port Hueneme naval base. And at the far right in the above photo is Lara Godbille, the museum director...she also participated in the assembly and erection.

The dome, originally erected by the Seabees in 1972-73, was dismantled during the 2009-10 summer season, and all of the pieces were shipped back to Port Hueneme. For several years there had been ongoing discussion about what to do with the dome...perhaps to rebuild it completely somewhere, or perhaps to implode it and grind it up for scrap. The end decision was to reconstruct the top ring and hang it as part of an exhibit denoting the Seabees' participation in the US Antarctic program.

the pressure is on
Lee Mattis pressure-washing vehicle exhaust and other grime off of the aluminum beams on the first day of the two-day assembly process. Later they would resort to Brillo pads.
truss me
Here, the team is assembling the beam framework inside the museum.
I've stood on top of this, and I've lived in a SEA hut
After the beams were assembled, the panels were added. In the background is a SEA hut (South East Asia hut) similar to the one I lived in in 1975 as a Seabee on Diego Garcia.
standing in a hole
After all the panels and splines were put together, time to think about how to hang this from the ceiling.
hang 'em high!
Thus.
no ice crystals yet
The finished product. Below it is the control panel saved from PM3A, the McM nuclear plant.
invite



An invitation to the "soft" grand opening of the museum on 22 July 2011. Some of the other exhibits remained to be installed later.
plan your visit
Above, a floor plan of the museum. The South Pole dome exhibit is in the north wing, at the top of the plan (this is from the Seabee TV page about the museum).
a bit of Seabee history

Above, a view of the museum looking southwest, from the official museum site. Unlike the old on-base museum in Quonset huts, the new facility is outside of the gates and openly accessible to the public. All of the photos here are from Jerry Marty except as otherwise indicated. There is more information about the dome exhibit in this Antarctic Sun article, as well as a 20 July 2011 article in the Ventura County Star.