Today is April 19th and a day that we remember the 47 sailors that lost their lives due to a tragic explosion aboard Battleship IOWA thirty-two years ago.
This incident has forged multi-generational bonds amongst the families of the 47 and the thousands of sailors that called IOWA home. The culture of today’s crew is one of remembrance, honor, and reverence for those that were deeply affected by this tragedy. The museum crew’s desire to serve today and the needs of veterans that come aboard is what organically created our veterans programming. As a fellow museum crew member, I want all veterans to know, especially those that were aboard the IOWA on April 19th, 1989, that the IOWA is a safe place for you to come to swap stories, be part of a family, and/or seek services that you may need or want.
Last week our indoor ship’s store reopened on a Friday, Saturday, Sunday schedule. This development is exciting as it reflects the reduction in Los Angeles Covid-19 cases and the increase in visitation at our museum. We are still a long way from recovering to pre-Covid visitation, but are optimistic on the path ahead. This optimism has allowed us to focus additional resources on opening the National Museum of the Surface Navy aboard IOWA on the U.S. Navy’s 250th birthday in 2025.
Over the next couple of months we will welcome additional development support crew, which will assist in growing the Plank Owner program, introducing the Haze Gray recognition system, and seeking grants for our numerous programs and needs.In support of these efforts, David Canfield and the IT team have recently completed a major upgrade to the Plank Owner system with the integration of Together We Serve. In doing so, they created a login authentication system that will allow for scalable growth in the future. I am excited about these new additions to the Plank Owner system allowing veterans to remember their service and families to honor their loved ones.
We still need your help with the hull preservation campaign. I can’t stress how important this one campaign is in support of the longevity of the Battleship IOWA. Over the past several years, our industry has striven to address major issues to ensure historic ships remain viable and afloat. In some cases, the ships were simply too far out of repair to be able to recover without major overhaul. We have adopted best practices over the past several years in our preventive versus reactive approach in preserving the IOWA’s hull.
Last week, I had the opportunity to see up close the work that has been completed and the work that has yet to begin. Where the operations team has already performed work it is in great condition and protecting the steel from corrosion. In areas such as portside forward and the stern, I am concerned. I am concerned that if we don’t receive enough support, that we will not be able to address all of these issues in 2021. This need is why your support is so critical – the time is now to address these issues is NOW. Thank you to all of the donors that have donated thus far to ensure that we are able to continue providing preventative maintenance to the ship. Help us meet a current $15,000 match by donating here! Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar.
These priorities are not our only ones in the near future. We have a busy couple of months ahead for the entire team, but a couple of additional highlights include progress on power usage reduction and Vicky’s Dog House. On the power usage front, the team has analyzed the load required for the indoor operating space. They have also tested the transformers to gain an understanding of what areas are drawing the largest load. They are now creating a plan to reduce or shed some of this load which will ultimately result in reducing one of our largest cost items at the museum, while allowing us to operate indoor and outdoor areas.
Vicky’s Dog House is on track to open by summer with final plans in the works and a donated container on the way this coming Tuesday. The container was donated by a generous local supporter and Air Force veteran and we are deeply appreciative for their support. Once the container arrives, we will begin the modifications to turn it into a kitchen that focuses on gourmet hot dogs, salads, side dishes, and beverages. Open to the public with or without admission, seating will be available aboard ship on the fantail with the best waterfront view in Los Angeles. Thank you to Larry Olson and Mike Getscher for their work on permitting, drawings, sourcing, and managing this project.
This week, Mike Getscher is reviewing how the most recent health protocols will affect our current operation. Based on what he is reading, it appears that we will once again be able to rent space for private events. If you are interested in booking a private event, please reach out to Catherine Moreno for all of the details.
My best wishes for a blessed week for you and your family. Remember the 47 and thank a veteran for their service this week. God bless the IOWA 47, their families, and the IOWA crew.
President and CEO