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CEO Update September 29, 2020

IOWA Family:

Our week began with a board meeting where we discussed numerous items including the National Museum campaign, virtual programs, and our current status in weathering the pandemic. On behalf of the board(s) and our crew, we are deeply appreciative to each and every one of you that has supported us during this once in a lifetime event.

Last week, Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán and Senator Diane Feinstein introduced legislation to designate the Battleship U.S.S. IOWA Museum as the National Museum of the Surface Navy. If passed, this bill would make this vessel the first and only museum in the nation dedicated solely to the men and women who have served in the surface forces of the U.S. Navy.

National Museum of the Surface Navy logo

“This resolution honors the men and women who have served – and continue to serve – in the surface forces of the United States by designating this museum as a monument to their sacrifice,” Congresswoman Nanette Diaz Barragán said. “In decades past, the Iowa defended our nation. Today, it serves our community here in San Pedro by educating the next generation. The U.S.S. IOWA is now not only a hallmark of California’s 44th Congressional District, but also a living monument to the surface forces of the U.S. Navy.”

Rear Admiral Mike Shatynski, our Chairman of the Board stated, “In 1775, Congress founded our Navy by commissioning a handful of surface ships. For 244 years, our country’s Surface Navy has protected free trade on the seas, provided humanitarian assistance, and promoted international relations. I am grateful to Congresswoman Barragan and Senator Feinstein that we will be able to recognize the millions of Surface Navy sailors and their families for their service to our country and the world.”

Why is this important?

In 2019, we officially became licensed as the National Museum of the Surface Navy by the United States Navy. This license permits us to develop and build the museum at the Battleship IOWA in San Pedro. As it is not an official congressional designation, it basically means we have only licensed the name for the museum from the United States Navy. This official designation will write our future in stone as the National Museum of the Surface Navy at the Battleship IOWA.

This evolution is necessary for us to maintain relevancy and broaden our reach into national and international followers and visitors. Thanks in large part to support by advocates like you, our organization has a tremendous virtual following. The pandemic and resulting cost cutting measures have provided us an opportunity to step back and review our plans and tactics to adapt to our emerging global following. We also take the responsibility of proper stewardship and representation of each and every person that becomes part of our IOWA / National Museum community. A few of the current objectives on the horizon include improving our virtual outreach, raising funds necessary to build the museum, and growing and diversifying our board(s) with representation from our different segments of advocates.

What does this all mean to you?

When you choose to become a Plank Owner, you have become a part of the National Museum of the Surface Navy at the Battleship IOWA community. You choose to honor yours or a loved one’s service at the new museum and tell the world that you are honoring this service. You are becoming part of our important community of advocates and supporters that help spread the word and build the ground swell of energy necessary to accomplish the goal. You become instrumental in a sustainable and important future for the Battleship IOWA.

Surface Navy Museum Certificate

Now for a quick update on where we are at in the IOWA’s pandemic response…

We continue to tightly manage expenses including a few additional cutbacks in staff hours last week. Our attendance at the beginning of last week was VERY slow and we were considering the potential of shutting down during the weekdays. Magically late last week, our attendance started picking up again and we had one of our best weekends since reopening. This week has started out strong at about 50% of our normal attendance numbers. We don’t know if this upturn will hold, as it appears that Los Angeles will once again be delayed into moving into phase 2 of the reopening.

I can tell you without a doubt that we wouldn’t still be open and literally continuing forward if it wasn’t for your critical support in donating and spreading the word. Couple this action with the incredible dedication of our volunteer crew and we are truly blessed to be an IOWA family and community.

God bless and stay safe. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Jonathan Williams
President and CEO
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Other photos - US Navy Archives and National Archives

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