The Battleship IOWA was built for active duty naval service and as such corridor space and access from deck to deck as well as the width of doors were minimized to essential crew needs only. For this reason, you will not find original elevators on battleships, just ladders (a nautical term for stairs). You will also notice that the corridors are much narrower than what you would see in an average building space. Being at sea, under the conditions of potential conflict, also meant that many of the doors were either watertight or completely sealable for structural integrity. You will encounter what the sailors refer to as “knee knockers” throughout the ship at doorways and passageways. Knee Knockers are the 6-8” elevated base of the watertight and structural door ways that allow for the doors to be sealed. They got their name from those that forgot they were there and tripped over them landing in most cases on their knees. Today the Knee Knockers and the narrow doorways are an impediment to guests in wheelchairs or those using walkers.
Accessibility to Persons with Disabilities
Visiting the Battleship IOWA can be a very rewarding family experience. Children of all ages are welcome on board. Younger kids love the “Victory the Dog Scavenger Hunt,” and it is available, at no additional cost, at the beginning of your Battleship IOWA Museum experience.
Parents and guardians must supervise children at all times. Running and roughhousing are not permitted while on board. We point this out this is for safety reasons. The Battleship will not be damaged if your child falls on the deck, IOWA was built to withstand enemy gunfire and attacks. However, we do not want your child to suffer the consequences of falling or running into something while on board. Our staff makes the point, ‘Everything on the IOWA was made stronger than any part of your child’s body!’
Stroller parking is available on board the Battleship IOWA Museum. The use of strollers is limited to Main Deck exterior spaces only. For small children, we suggest the use of a front carrier (Baby Bjorn-type carrier). Due to the low overheads (ceilings) around the ships ladders, small children in backpack carriers are subject to hitting their heads as their parents negotiate the stairways which
Designed as a military ship, the Battleship IOWA Museum is a unique, authentic experience in which you traverse the same decks and stairways the sailors did when she was active.
If at any time you would like to exit the tour route, please locate a Battleship IOWA crew member and they will assist.