We continue to experience attendance rebound on the weekends, with this past Sunday being the first to surpass pre-pandemic numbers. The weekdays remain weak as a result as a result of lower visitor attendance, but ironically drawing a higher number of local visitors than we generally experience. COO Mike Getscher continues to track local county orders, which have recently given us a green light for events with the caveat that they adhere to public health protocol. Following health protocol, we are enthusiastic about once again hosting events, as well as youth in the overnight program (Camp Battleship).
I am proud of our entire crew, but this week I want to highlight the tour team and their focus on providing high-quality experiences for all visitors. With the recent reopening of the economy, we are once again able to offer in-depth specialized tours to small family groups – our Engineering, Gunnery, President’s, and Deck Tour are available on weekends. The team has stepped up to support this evolution and we are incredibly blessed to have such a dedicated group of volunteers. Thank you, tour department, for all that you do to support the ship and museum!
Volunteerism is part of our culture and I can say with confidence that we wouldn’t be where we are today without volunteers. I began as a volunteer in 2000 in the efforts to save the IOWA and I have seen first-hand the dedication of each of these individuals. If you volunteer, regardless of which organization(s) you may support, thank you for giving back! If you are interested in becoming a member of the passionate IOWA crew, you can apply by clicking here.
Last week, we hosted a memorial in honor of the 32nd anniversary of the Turret 2 explosion. Veterans and crew assembled to honor those that tragically lost their lives on April 19, 1989. This incident was transformational in many ways for the families, veterans, and the museum crew of today. We are honored to remember their service and sacrifice today through our veteran-oriented programs.
As we continue our transformation to the National Museum of the Surface Navy, we remain focused on efficiency, structure, and expansion. Last Tuesday, we received the newly-donated container from Fast Lane Transportation which we will utillze for Vicky’s Dog House. Thank you to Patrick and Fast Lane for their contribution of the container, especially in the middle of a record shortage. In case you didn’t hear, Vicky’s will be our new gourmet hot dog and sausage offering that will be open to the public year round with the best views on the LA Waterfront. We are targeting mid to late June for opening Vicky’s and we will keep you up to date as we get closer.
Last Thursday, the IOWA was a platform for law enforcement to practice maritime interdiction training. This type of activity occurs throughout the year aboard the IOWA to help support disaster preparedness, fast reactionary forces, search and rescue, maritime training, and much more. We are honored to support Southern California residents not only as a platform for training, but one providing high caliber programs for the community.
We rarely mention the challenges we face in making the IOWA accessible to the public and usable as a workplace. Over the years the team has created methods to provide accessibility to certain spaces while maintaining the historic fabric of the vessel – daunting to say the least.
While many of us take for granted the ease of wireless technologies including internet and cell phones, it simply doesn’t work the same within a large steel enclosure. Not only is it a large steel enclosure, it is broken into smaller compartments separated by metal bulkheads. Needless to say that storage is a commodity, access is challenging, and modern technology is simply difficult. Our IT / Innovation team takes on the technology challenge, while making it look simple, but it’s not.
The team has been installing Wi-Fi cells throughout the ship for months and more recently has extended cell phone coverage through a couple of the office areas on the second deck. On behalf of our education and veterans team, thank you to Forrest Hippensteel and Troy Vail (pictured below) for installing one of these cells on the second deck over the weekend. Keep up the great work on battleship innovation!
As a final note, we are proud to welcome onboard new members of the Development team: Matthias Leier as a Development & Marketing Specialist and Audra Hayes as a contract grant writer. As we forge ahead on our National Museum of the Surface Navy plans, our resource needs are glaringly evident. Your support of the Hull Preservation campaign will make it possible for our operations team to address critical maintenance challenges. The development team is important to continue providing you opportunities to be involved and in applying for additional grants to fund the efforts. These efforts will help us grow and expand as we target the opening of National Museum of the Surface Navy in celebration of the U.S. Navy’s 250th birthday on October 13, 2025.
In closing, please support the annual HULL PRESERVATION campaign and don’t forget to become a Surface Navy Museum Plank Owner.
President and CEO