The USS Kidd Veterans Memorial & Museum is offering a special night aboard the retired Fletcher-class naval destroyer, listening to tales from the ship’s glory days and more.
Scheduled for Saturday, and beginning at 6:30 p.m., Tin Can Tales is an exclusive experience that includes an overnight tour of the ship and subsequent morning tour of the adjoining museum.
“It’s a variation on our overnight camping program that’s been going on since 1984,” said Tim NesSmith, who serves as the ship’s superintendent, outreach coordinator and historian. “It’s not as rushed as school tours might be, so visitors can have more time to learn about the ship and its history.”
While most groups who stay overnight on the ship are on organized outings, such as church or Scout groups, NesSmith said, Tin Can Tales is geared toward smaller groups.
“A lot of folks may not be involved in those groups but may want to bring their family for an overnight experience on the ship, so Tin Can Tales is an event that works with those people,” he said.
The event’s name alludes to the moniker given to destroyers, like the Kidd, whose hulls were “as thin as tin cans,” compared with the foot-thick steel of larger battleships and aircraft carriers.
“One of the hallmarks of being an ‘old salt’ in the Navy is the ability to tell a good tale,” NesSmith said. “Tin Can Tales is a collection of some of the best stories shared with us by the thousands of sailors, soldiers, Marines and airmen that have visited over the years.”
NesSmith has devoted 20 years to the study of the ship, as well as studying Louisiana and U.S. military history. He started out as a tour guide on the ship back in 1995. These days, he oversees the ship’s restoration and interpretation.
“I’ve acquired quite a few stories over the years, and they’re not all necessarily about the ship or destroyers,” he said.” There will be unique stories about the Kidd and some about military life not aboard the ship that normally don’t come out on the regular tours.”
NesSmith said that while Tin Can Tales may imply tall tales, these stories are anything but fabricated.
“They’re based in reality,” he said. “You can’t make this stuff up. It’s all family-friendly, so some of the subject matter may be toned down, but the stories are never exaggerated.”
As with normal overnight tours, participants in Tin Can Tales are urged to pack light. Items to bring include a sleeping bag, blanket, personal toiletries, a flashlight and comfortable shoes and sleepwear. Small ice chests with snacks are also allowed.
“We urge people to eat a meal before they arrive, as dinner is not served on the ship,” NesSmith said. “There will be breakfast in the morning.”
Admission for Tin Can Tales is $30 per person.
Other upcoming events at the USS Kidd Veteran’s Memorial & Museum in October include the Set Sail for Fashion show on Friday, Oct. 16, from noon to 2 p.m. The event is a partnership with the Purple Cow Thrift Store, located in the Woodlawn Shopping Center at 6586 Jones Creek Road.
Ten veterans, selected for their community work, will choose an outfit from the store the week prior to the event and wear those clothes at the fashion show, NesSmith said.
Another October event is the annual Fall Field Days, from Oct. 22-25, where veterans from around the country come to live and work aboard the ship and assist with restoration and general maintenance projects.
The museum also hosts mini field days every other month, NesSmith said, where members of the public who are not veterans or may not have shipboard maintenance can help paint or clean.
For more information or to register for USS Kidd Veterans Memorial & Museum events, call (225) 342-1942 or email reserva email@example.com.