New barber shop exhibit opens on Yorktown

  • Wednesday, March 6, 2013

A newly-constructed barber shop aboard the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point has just opened. This recreated baber shop was due to the donation of the barber’s chair by Joe Roberts. The space was dedicated on Feb. 27 with Mount Pleasant Mayor Billy Swails getting his hair cut by Roberts. PHOTO PROVIDED

Thanks to the support of a local business owner, Patriots Point Naval and Maritime Museum has opened a redesigned exhibit aboard the USS Yorktown.

The display, a Barbershop on the Yorktown’s Tour Route 5, features an authentic 1950s chair that was generously donated by Mount Pleasant resident and owner of Elite Barbershop, Joe Roberts.

The idea came to Roberts, a third generation barber, after speaking with Patriots Point executive director Mac Burdette about the museum’s efforts to “bring the ship to life.”

“I’m very supportive of the ship. I think it’s a great thing for our community and a good thing for people to see,” Roberts said. “Mac was telling me about their plans for the Yorktown and I had an extra chair from the 1950s that was in decent shape. I thought it would fit right in.”

Working with the Patriots Point Museum Services Department, Roberts was able to donate the chair, which is now the centerpiece of the display.

“We’re working hard each day to create an authentic experience for our visitors,” said Burdette. “The USS Yorktown was one of the Navy’s toughest warships during WWII and Vietnam; but when not actively engaged in battle, the Yorktown was a floating city – with medical and dental facilities, mess halls and even several barbershops throughout the ship.”

“The addition of this redesigned barbershop, complete with an authentic 1950s chair, allows our visitors to ‘walk in the steps of heroes’ and to experience what life was like each day for the sailors who served,” Burdette continued.

Mayor Billy Swails, of the Town of Mount Pleasant, was on hand to celebrate the opening of the exhibit. “It’s great when our local business owners recognize the importance of attractions like Patriots Point,” said Swails, who also serves as ex-officio member of the Patriots Point Development Authority Board.

“I’m sure Joe could have sold that chair for a fair amount of money, but he chose to donate the historic piece so that visitors to Patriots Point could gain a better understanding of life aboard the ship. His generosity is very much appreciated, and we’re proud he calls Mount Pleasant home.”

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