Susan Gibbs, the conservancy's executive director, said yesterday that the events are occurring at a "crucial time" in the life of the once-glorious ocean liner.
"The ship's long-term status remains precarious," she said. "We're still searching for a permanent home for the SS United States. We just hope she's still with us when [Macaulay's] book hits the stands."
Macaulay immigrated to the U.S. onboard the ship when he was a child. His lecture at the library will run from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and is open to the public.
He also is expected to attend a preview of the exhibition at the Independence Seaport Museum from 6 to 9 p.m. tomorrow.
Gibbs said the exhibition, "Charting a Course for America's Flagship," will feature a number of artifacts from the ship and an "idea pod" where attendees can share thoughts on how the ship could be repurposed.
It also will offer glimpses into the lives of local folks who had ties to the ship, including Gibbs' grandfather, William Francis Gibbs, who designed the SS United States.
"The attempt is to bring the ship to life," she said. "We've been thrilled with the reception so far. We're expecting 350 people on Thursday night."
The conservancy purchased the SS United States with a $5.8 million donation from H.F. "Gerry" Lenfest, a chairman and co-owner of Interstate General Media, the parent company of the Daily News.
The group has been scrambling since then to raise enough money to cover the steep costs of docking the ship on the waterfront, while simultaneously trying to find a developer willing to redevelop the vessel.
"We're still working furiously behind the scenes to get something done," Gibbs said.
For more information on the exhibition, visit www.phillyseaport.org/ssunitedstates.
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