Floating Hotel Museum (Long Beach)

Long Beach, CA. I had 2 hours to wait at the docks, to pick up someone from a cruise ship. So it seemed appropriate to kill that time on another cruise ship. The Queen Mary is a museum, and a hotel with dining and shops. It's a venue for nightlife, team building scavenger hunts and multicultural weddings. It even has a Russian submarine on a leash. It's on the water of course, not on a sea of grass.

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Outdoor photo murals often have a surreal quality, especially when the image is mounted on the the real thing it represents. Here the image goes back in time, and distance, like a parent, or a baby in the belly of the ship.

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A photo of an excited traveler boarding the maiden voyage is so welcoming, I wish I could move it to the actual ticket entry, which is far away. These 2 great photos are splintered by a third one with bad corner cropping.

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The space between the boat and the land is a "behind the scenes" that can't be hidden, a work area full of umbilical chords and other bridges that turn a ship into a building.

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Actual views of the ship are hard to see. An elevator tower obscures the view at the entry, which is (sort of) part of the hotel reception, but around the corner.

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It's confusing to buy a ticket, called a "passport", because there are so many packages to decipher, called "voyages". Most of them involve special tours or shows, on various themes, including an evening paranormal tour. Because the idea of "boarding" the museum as an actual passenger is so enticing, why not do it in a realistic way?

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The cheapest ticket visitors (like lower class passengers) are sent directly down a long ramp to the engine room at the stern. The walkway is melancholy, strewn with residual event decorations and furniture.  

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Double signage is like fighting fire with fire. 

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The Queen Mary is a historic Art Deco jewel. 

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But the logotype is traditional serif. Next to it is some deco wayfinding (MB Picturehouse or Nova Deco?)

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This painful deco treatment is probably older, no longer in use.

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Other aspects of the wayfinding are based on the simpler cruiseline font

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The overwhelming array of options reappear at the real museum entry.

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Beautiful deco wall.

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The original typography on the ship's controls, hand-shaped and spaced to fit the wedge. 

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Heavy wooden frames on the engine labels.

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This dark alcove walkway for viewing the actual propeller under water was really moody. It had whatever quality it is (hope, fear) that compels people to throw coins.

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The museum has the dense claustrophobic quality of a ship, and the personal stories have the fleeting, temporal quality of a passenger.

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At the upper level, the ship becomes a common ground for tours, hotel, shopping, dining, conference, photo studio, with other exhibits somewhere in the mix.

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Photos and anecdotes of non celebrity passengers help make it accessible.

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A Lego ship model and lego building stations

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A Lego mosaic

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So the photo mural texture is probably Lego inspired.

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Starbucks on the promenade deck just doesn't seem right.

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Lifeboats will not be needed.

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The ship's natural landscape is the sea, but as a visitor on a docked ship, we can't experience that. I wanted some of the windows to reveal a (photo) view of the vast expanse of the sea, the horizon.

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The ship is bordered by a mini circus arena with a few amusement rides.

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Next to this is the "Queen Mary's Dark Harbor, Fear Lives Here" exhibition. It could be under construction. It's hard to say because the aesthetic is wreckage. Like a home made spookhouse, but with an aspect of hollywood stage set design. 

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It's an interesting juxtaposition between this outdoor exhibition and the carnival. There's a messy boundary between museum exhibition and attraction. What are the roots, of true story and fantasy, in the fair and the circus?

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