CEO Update 8 March 2022

Help Us Meet Our Goal And Beat Last Year’s Total

Thanks to all the fantastic supporters who donated last year, we raised a remarkable sum: nearly $100,000 for hull preservation in about two months! 

These dollars are hard at work, and over the next month we’ll show you the impact they have, but let’s start with the why.

COO Mike Getscher explains what we’re doing with an impressed current cathodic protection system to safeguard the portions of the hull below the waterline and shows the wear happening at the wind and waterline in this video.

Once again, we’re about two months from Memorial Day. Let’s beat last year’s total and put another significant sum in the coffers to keep this hull sound so future generations can marvel at and connect with this wonder of engineering.

Click the button below to donate. You can also help by sharing it with your friends!


I begin this message with thoughts and prayers for those affected by both the Ukraine tragedy and the recent tornadoes in Madison County, Iowa. During turbulent times, the best in the American spirit comes out to help those in need whether they are family, neighbors, or fellow humans. It is this American spirit which feeds our culture of caring and generosity; it is this spirit that makes our country continue to evolve and be at the forefront of freedom.

As I write this message, I am traveling to Washington D.C. for a short two and a half days of meetings. I will be speaking with supporters, industry partners, and friends to highlight the importance of historic ships and Fleet Weeks. These vessels and events communicate the message of Freedom of the Seas to Americans to ensure that our future remains strong and bright. Each of us is affected by this message, especially as we are taking on inflation and economic conditions over the next several months or years.

I am concerned about inflation and the potential effects on our nation’s economy, our museum, and ultimately our supporters and crew. As inflation outpaces wage growth, it becomes more important than ever to manage costs and remain focused on our ultimate objective of opening the National Museum of the Surface Navy. Material and labor costs will undoubtedly increase, and the necessity of support and donations will become even more essential. 

Unfortunately, many of us simply may not have the capacity to support at a major level today, including me. Despite that, we still want to ensure that our mission of preserving the IOWA to educate the public on Freedom of the Seas as the Surface Navy Museum is not forgotten. To accomplish this goal, we have begun investing more time in growing our legacy planned giving program to guarantee that the museum is preserved for the future and the memories of our supporters are not forgotten. This program is currently in development, but if you are interested in learning more, please contact our Development team at or 877-446-9261 ext. 747.

Battleship at Anchor

Two years ago, we faced an unknown crisis when Covid-19 hit. As we were preparing to shut down for what we thought was going to be a couple of weeks, we were forced to look at how we must become more efficient and effective as an organization.

Relatively quickly, our role in the community came into play. Our crew sprang into action to support the USNS Mercy mission and several other initiatives that provided aid to the population of Los Angeles. Our role in the community was born out of our crew’s passion to assist our neighbors, honor our veterans and active military, and educate our youth on the importance of Freedom of the Seas.

This same passion is what drives our boards and crew to plan LA Fleet Week over Memorial Day and establish the Surface Navy Museum. We feel that we are leading the way in growing the museum’s role in the 21st century as a community platform which supports its constituents through innovative and impactful programs.

We have been preparing the space and infrastructure necessary to remove berthing on the second deck to accommodate the National Museum of the Surface Navy. We have also had a couple of early meetings to discuss the design of the museum, and taken the initial step of formulating a museum advisory committee. We are in discussions with innovative and creative thinkers who can help us design the museum to reflect the ever-changing, dynamic, mission-based environment of the Surface Navy.

We feel strongly that the museums of the past, those filled with cases of artifacts, will not be successful in engaging our future generations. We are looking to create an immersive experience that leverages the in-situ environment of the ship to bring alive the space for the visitor. The ultimate takeaway for the visitor would be to understand the role of the Surface Navy in the daily lives of Americans including their jobs, businesses, and home life.

As we prepare and design the National Museum of the Surface Navy, we must continue to maintain what I have come to call the “foundation” of the ship. When I state “foundation,” I mean the hull of the ship. 

Many of us own and/or maintain buildings of different sizes and if we don’t maintain their foundations, all cosmetic improvements will go to waste. Basically, the skeleton of the building will deteriorate while the skin will look beautiful. 

We are taking an approach focused primarily on preventative maintenance of the ship, while making cosmetic improvements as donors support. Unfortunately, we don’t always have enough financial or crew resources to continue working on the ship’s skeleton as needed or desired and therefore we hold our annual hull preservation campaign from March through Memorial Day.

Please consider supporting our efforts to maintain the skeleton or hull preservation efforts of the ship with a generous donation. You can contribute any amount by clicking here or contacting our Development team by email or phone (877-446-9261 ext. 747). And please share the link with your network.

I have been asked why we are building the museum on the ship. My answer dovetails into the information above. 

Most of our visitor base (70%+) are members of the public with no prior service or shipboard experience. They come aboard and hear stories of service while experiencing life at sea firsthand. 

During their tour experience they visit a variety of spaces, including berthing areas, that highlight what it is like to live and sleep aboard a Surface Navy ship. After viewing a couple of spaces, the need to show them another ten to twenty of essentially identical spaces is no longer necessary or desirable. Therefore, we must decide if we should shutter the space and let it deteriorate over the next several years or refurbish it and maintain it as museum space. 

By making the decision to build on the ship, we are investing in the maintenance of the ship rather than that of a building. We are deciding to leverage the ship environment to tell the story versus creating a faux ship environment in a shore building. 

This choice allows us to create this museum at a fraction of the cost and effort it would take to design, build, and operate a building. In many ways it is the fiscally and strategically responsible option for the future of the organization and the stewardship of your support.

An important side note: when we decide what spaces to utilize and refurbish, we will not remove unique spaces with significant stories. That distinction includes the berthing space that the Turret 2 sailors lived in.

My thoughts and prayers are with each of you as you take on life’s challenges with a smile while thinking about those throughout the world affected by disasters and conflict. Enjoy your time with your loved ones, show random acts of kindness, and demonstrate to the world what the American spirit is. Thank you for your support and belief in our organization and crew. 

Jonathan Williams
President & CEO

NOTE: If you prefer not to donate electronically, please mail your check to:
Attention: Development Department, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90731
Site developed by Wicked Code, Inc. and funded by The Edward E. & Marie L. Matthews Foundation •  Photos by Rick Stipa Photography
Other photos - US Navy Archives and National Archives

Board & Crew Portal