Historian Bill Miller To Speak At Noble Maritime, Commemorating 66th Anniversary Of Andrea Doria Rescue

Commemorating the 66th anniversary of the Andrea Doria tragedy at sea, maritime historian Bill Miller will speak at the Noble Maritime Collection on July 23 at 2 PM.  The museum will also offer special hours and free admission.


STATEN ISLAND, NEW YORK, July 18, 2022—The Noble Maritime Collection’s new exhibition Andrea Doria: Rescue at Sea opened last month.  To honor the 66th anniversary of the greatest peacetime rescue in maritime history, the museum will offer free admission on both Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24, 2022, as well as special hours and free admission on the anniversary itself, Monday, July 25, 2022.  The museum will be open all three days from 12 to 5 PM.

On Saturday, July 23 at 2 PM, renowned maritime historian and lecturer Bill Miller will present a photographic overview of the great Atlantic liners—including the Andrea Doria and her passengers’ rescue ship the Ile de France—as well as the MauretaniaTitanic, RexNormandie, Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth.

Installation of the Andrea Doria: Rescue at Sea exhibition at the Noble Maritime Collection, first view; photo by Michael McWeeney

Installation of the Andrea Doria: Rescue at Sea exhibition at the Noble Maritime Collection, first view; photo by Michael McWeeney

Miller will discuss the lavish first class accommodations and the lower-deck steerage for immigrants who came westward by sea.  He will also discuss the two World Wars, the Depression, and the final, pre-jet era in the 1960s and the last of this grand fleet, finishing with the current age of the Queen Mary 2.

The SS Andrea Doria was the pride of postwar Italy.  A glamorous transatlantic ocean liner, she was a “floating art gallery” and a marvel of midcentury modern design.  She carried celebrities as well as Italian immigrants to new opportunities in America.

On July 25, 1956, the Swedish liner MS Stockholm collided with the Andrea Doria, which was en route to New York.  The subsequent rescue was one of the most dramatic and well-documented in sea history.

The museum’s exhibition was developed with the guidance of survivor, educator, author, and filmmaker Pierette Domenica Simpson, who is the gatekeeper of Andrea Doria survivor stories.  She is the author of the books Alive on the Andrea Doria!: The Greatest Sea Rescue in History and I Was Shipwrecked on the Andrea Doria! The Titanic of the 1950s.

Installation of the Andrea Doria: Rescue at Sea exhibition at the Noble Maritime Collection, second view; photo by Michael McWeeney

Installation of the Andrea Doria: Rescue at Sea exhibition at the Noble Maritime Collection, second view; photo by Michael McWeeney

Simpson also wrote and produced the 2016 documentary Andrea Doria: Are the Passengers Saved?, directed by Luca Guardabascio of Rome.  A 15-minute preview of this film will be shown at the museum following Mr. Miller’s presentation.

To mark the 66th anniversary of the sinking, the film will air in New York City and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut on CUNY TV on Saturday, July 23 at 11:00 PM, Sunday, July 24 at 3:00 PM, Monday, July 25 at 6:00 AM and 12:00 PM, and Tuesday, July 26 at 12:00 PM.

The view the trailer for Andrea Doria: Are the Passengers Saved?, visit youtube.com/watch?v=IyFUiRrE230

The museum’s exhibition features objects and artifacts from the extensive collection of diver and researcher John Moyer.  In 1993, Moyer was awarded an Admiralty Arrest in US Federal Court and named Salvor in Possession of the wreck


In addition to numerous rare photographs and artwork, on display is a lifering from the Andrea Doria, as well as china from all passenger classes, glassware, silverware, and the ship’s brass bell, all recovered by Moyer and a team of divers.

The exhibition also includes underwater footage shot by Bill Campbell and Billy Deans of John Moyer and a team diving to the wreck and recovering two 1,000-pound ceramic mural panels by Italian artist Guido Gambone (1909-1969).  An example of Gambone’s work, a vase, is also on display.

Archival newsreel footage of the Andrea Doria’s maiden voyage, the collision, and the rescue of her passengers—all provided by the Sherman Grinberg Library—is shown in the exhibition on a converted Firestone television from 1956, the year of the sinking.

The exhibition will be on view through June 2023.  For more information, visit noblemaritime.org/andrea-doria.

For more information on historian Bill Miller, visit billmillercruiseseverywhere.com

For more information about Simpson’s work, visit pierettesimpson.com and Andrea Doria: Are The Passengers Saved? The Movie.

For more information on Moyer’s work, visit Moyer Expeditions LLC.

This exhibition was made possible, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, in partnership with the City Council; the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Kathy Hochul and the New York State Legislature; a Humanities New York SHARP Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal American Rescue Plan Act; and by a grant from the Lily Auchincloss Foundation.  Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this exhibition do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The Noble Maritime Collection, located in a former mariners’ dormitory at Snug Harbor Cultural Center and Botanical Garden, 1000 Richmond Terrace, Building D, Staten Island, New York, is open from 12 until 5 PM, Thursdays through Sundays.  Admission is by donation.

For more information about the museum, call (718) 447-6490 or visit noblemaritime.org

Banner Image:The Andrea Doria near the final moments of her sinking on July 26, 1956.  Photo by Harry A. Trask; public domain

Ciro Galeno

The mission of the Noble Maritime Collection, an art and history museum in Staten Island, New York, is to present exhibitions and programs that celebrate the working waterfront of New York Harbor in the tradition of distinguished artist John A. Noble (1913-1983), and to preserve Robbins Reef Lighthouse and the history of Sailors’ Snug Harbor.

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