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CEO Update February 16, 2021

Surface Navy Museum and Battleship IOWA Family:

Greetings from the decks of the IOWA! This past weekend showed a positive step in the right direction towards recovery. Valentine’s Day was our best attendance since the beginning of the pandemic at about 50% of normal. The weekdays are still very weak in traffic with some days dipping into the single digit of visitors and it shows its direct impact in our financial reports. I am proud of the small but mighty crew that continues to persevere with enthusiasm and passion for a brighter future.

We realize that there is a fair amount of confusion about the National Museum of the Surface Navy at the Battleship IOWA. In very simple terms, this will be the official name of the museum with the scheduled opening in 2025. We are not changing the name of the USS Iowa or devaluing the ship, but are instead highlighting the critical role of our Surface Navy on one of its historic iconic platforms. We also have a deep appreciation for your tremendous support of the USS Iowa throughout the years and want to build on it by reaching a much larger audience.

With all of this said, you can still donate to the Battleship IOWA if your love and passion is only the ship. You can donate to the National Museum of the Surface Navy at the Battleship IOWA if your love and passion is the future of the museum. Our awesome accounting and finance team is able to flag donations towards specific projects or programs to make sure we allocate it accordingly. Many of our projects and programs are funded this way and we are in deep appreciation for this tremendous support! Our team’s financial stewardship has helped us be highly rated with both GuideStar and Charity Navigator.

I realize that I have repeated this several times over the past eleven months, but we are here today in large part due to your financial support. Our crew has committed themselves every day to a brighter future and they are able to do it knowing you have their backs. I reduced our pleas in early 2021 to give you a break from my constant asking, but our needs haven’t changed. We still need your support and will continue needing it to weather this pandemic!

Big Stick Silent Auction


The current silent auction has garnered a fair amount of excitement with numerous bids to date. Our volunteer carpenter Stan has created special wood deck items, board members have donated one-of-a-kind experiences, and supporters like yourself have donated items as part of the silent auction. Please consider bidding on an item and/or donate this month to help.

We are anxiously awaiting a grant release date on the SBA shuttered venue grants, in which funds were approved in the recent stimulus package. This program continues to be delayed in accepting applications and we are fearful that time will continue to pass before they release it. It has been well publicized that shuttered venues like museums and live venues have been affected most during the pandemic. It is unfortunate that we are forced to choose between a yet to be released shuttered venue grant program or a second round of PPP. Personally, I feel that Congress should fix this situation by providing PPP for immediate support and require venues to refund the PPP if they are able to obtain a grant from the limited pool of shuttered venue funds.

As we look towards the coming months, our team is building on the early successes on the virtual front. Our education and tour teams have hosted numerous virtual programs for groups throughout the country. If you are interested in one of these for your group, regardless of your location, please reach out to Catherine Moreno at for more details.

Stay tuned for the new V-Cube that is being developed by our digital innovation team to bring you live to areas of the ship usually inaccessible by the public. I think I heard a rumor that we will have a program with this system in the coming week or two.

Our 2021 Gravely Experience goes virtual on Friday, February 26th, 2021 at 12:00 PM PST with a program focused on Resilience and Opportunity. This program features several prominent speakers including Tanya Acker, retired RADM Sinclair Harris, retired naval officer and author Paul Stillwell, and former Commander of the USS Gravely Alysa Ambrose. Funding for this program is provided by donors and supporters including Tanya Acker, Collier Walsh Nakazawa LLP, Pacific Battleship Center, and others. Please register here to attend this always-inspiring event.


In the coming weeks, our veterans team will release a new video series that highlights a veteran/service member who has a unique story or talent. They are already working on the first episode and I think you will love it! Stay tuned for the announcement of the first episode.

My deepest appreciation for your support and friendship. My best wishes for an amazing and safe week to you and your family.

Jonathan Williams
President and CEO

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