TRG Historic Content Co.

Wanted: Model Builders to Create a Diorama of the Philadelphia Navy Yard (a 45 minute presentation)
Part of the six part naval history series from TRG Historic Content Co. (

Listen to the story of the Philadelphia Navy Yard, the largest Navy Yard in the US, and perhaps the world, during its peak in World War II. Hear how up to 50,000 civilian workers, called Yardbirds, built the battleships, aircraft carriers, and other warships. Marvel at the history of this industrial/military behemoth, including the birthplace of the U.S. Navy, the US Marine Corps, the young country’s first shipyard and naval base. The Battleships USS New Jersey, USS Wisconsin, and USS Washington were built here.

A local museum volunteer is looking for volunteers and paid model builders and financial supporters willing to help build a large diorama model of the Philadelphia Navy Yard at its historic peak on 7 Dec 1942, the day of the launch of the Battleship New Jersey and the one-year anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
Why do we need a diorama of the Philadelphia Navy Yard? Because the Navy Yard is one of the most historic places in Philadelphia and there is nothing there today which recalls what a military and economic powerhouse it was, especially at its peak during WWII. Moreover, there is no museum there; nor a single panel or kiosk identifying or interpreting its history.

The scale of the model of the yard and ships would be 1:160 (model railroading N scale). At this scale, a model of 110 acres (of the 1,200 acres of the entire base) of the riverside section of the naval shipyard would be approximately 208 ft.² If more space were ready for use in the exhibit location, we could build it larger or expand it later as more space became available. N scale will enable the diorama to have operating parts and interactivity, with moving trains, planes, ships, and vehicles under visitor control. This scale will save some construction as model trains, buildings and other structures can be purchased rather than built. Site is yet to be determined
We could use other volunteer help as well, such as researchers, writers, carpenters, electricians, audio/visual, radio control and computer specialists, and office help. And, of course, donation pledges would be helpful also.
The presentation includes photos of other large dioramas around the world, photographs of the Philadelphia Navy Yard building battleships in 1942 and video of the launch of the Battleship New Jersey on 7 December 1942.

About the Developer/Presenter
Ron Gottardi is Volunteer Director of the Oral History Program of the Battleship New Jersey, a former docent (tour guide) and volunteer educator for the ship. This gives him access to the rich material in the museum-ship’s libraries, curatorial archives, and oral history recordings and transcripts. Ron has also developed naval history exhibits for the New Jersey and other organizations. He is a member of the Oral History Association, the Oral History Mid-Atlantic Region association, the United States Naval Institute and the Historic National Ships Association. Ron is a former Associate Professor at Drexel University and was also adjunct faculty at Rowan University and Temple University. He is a graduate of Rutgers University (B.S.) and completed his master's degree at Temple University. Ron also was a consultant to the Philadelphia Navy Yard when it was in operation and helped the yard obtain several billion dollars’ worth of aircraft carrier overhauls and extend the life of the yard by about 10 years.

This presentation can be delivered for a fee to local (southern New Jersey and Philadelphia area) veterans, civic, and public organizations. For local presentation, contact Ron Gottardi at 856-608-7984 or by email at Part of the fee goes to the Battleship New Jersey Oral History Program to continue its interviews of military veterans and develop more US naval history content. For more info on the diorama, visit or

Diorama of the Phila Navy Yard talk 2015fJE12.doc; © 2015 TRG Historic Content Co.


| Home |  | Exhibits |  | Projects | | Services | | Links | | Presentations | | About Us |  | Contact Us |