Visitors to the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park will have an added piece of technology to enhance their experience. WBFO’s senior reporter Eileen Buckley says Bak USA delivered 20-tablets to the downtown Naval Park at Canalside.
“Okay, wake up everybody,” declared Ulla Bak, co-founder of Bak USA with her husband, chairman and CEO J.P. Bak.
Several years ago the Danish couple made commitment to bring their international brand to Buffalo. The tablets are made right here in the Queen City. She appeared Wednesday afternoon at the Naval Park with a delivery of a box of “rugged Seal’ tablets.
“It’s a great joy for us to be able to bring the Naval Park ‘back to the future’ – no pun intended. And cooperate with the Naval Park in our mutual commitment to education,” remarked Bak.
Naval Park Interim executive director Paul Marzello stood with the Parks director of Museum Collections, Shane Stephenson. They explained that visitors will be able to use the tablet devices to explore more history about the warships – like the historic U.S.S. Sullivan and other artifacts.
“This will really enhance their experience of what life was like on the ships, what the artifacts that are in front of them are and what can be identified and really give some of the history of the ships and some of the people that lived on them,” stated Stephenson.
“You know we’ve realized at looking at other ships – historic ships - other museums – is that the ones personally I’ve gotten the most out of are the ones that tell the stories of the veterans. So if you walk into a compartment area and look at some artifacts that are static, but if you had the opportunity to hear from someone who used it, shared in that experience, kind of gave you how it impacted their life,” said Marzello.
WBFO News asked Marzello and Stephenson what the coolest item they believe is on board the U.S.S Sullivan.
“If you can corner one of these docents and have them take you to the favorite spot they had when they served and just sit down and say tell me a story about this particular position – where were you on Christmas Eve – sitting here writing a letter to your family or if you were in time of war – what was happening around you,” Marzello responded.
"The ships themselves are artifacts, right? So not only do we have artifacts and the stories that can be told within them, but the actual ships themselves – the steel – the metal – the paint – all of that stuff is the artifact itself. For me – it’s the overall experience of being on the ships and the sub,” Stephenson replied.
“If you could have been a fly on the decks someplace and found out where they’ve been in the world and what circumstances they’ve were under – that would be the story,” Marzello noted.
J.P. Bak also appears in a new welcome video to greet Naval Park guests and introduce them to the all rich history within the park and museum at Canalside.
The tablets will also be used to gather customer data to learn where visitors are coming from and to measure performance of the Naval Park.