By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Cory Asato, Navy Public Affairs Support Element West, Det. Northwest
BREMERTON, Wash. — The Naval History and Heritage Command’s Puget Sound Navy Museum (PSNM) in Bremerton opened its naval heritage tattoo exhibit “Skin Deep: The Nautical Roots of Tattoo Culture,” April 3.
The exhibit showcases how the history of Sailors and nautical culture in the U.S. and British Royal Navies are closely intertwined from the 1800s through the present.
“The tattoo exhibit has been in development since early October 2014 and has included countless hours of research, design work and construction,” said Megan Churchwell, a curator at PSNM.
The exhibit boasts more than 900 sq. ft. shared by three modules with themes: Nautical Roots of Tattoo Culture, Tattoo Culture in War from the Civil War through WWII, and Renowned Sailors in Tattoo Culture; featuring multiple artifacts on loan and for display to include scrimshaw, an antique tattoo kit estimated to be from the 1920s and an interactive display where a patron can sit in a vintage dental chair and select a Sailor tattoo to be projected on their forearm.
“I was always under the impression that tattoos were a military tradition,” said Nancy Cranston, a museum patron visiting from Chicago. “It’s interesting to learn how deep the history of tattoos and the Navy run together; and very impressed at how appealing this exhibit is.”
In the modern Navy, tattoo policy has evolved to balance personal preference with good order and discipline. Today’s tattoo policy can be found in Chapter Two (http://www.public.navy.mil/bupers-npc/support/uniforms/uniformregulations/chapter2/Pages/2201PersonalAppearance.aspx) of the of the U.S. Navy Uniform regulations.
The tattoo exhibit will have more displays added in coming months; it is of one of two temporary exhibits in the museum and will be at PSNM, which is free to the public, until March 2017.
More information on the Puget Sound Naval Museum, including operating hours, can be found by visiting http://www.pugetsoundnavymuseum.org/