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CEO Update February 23, 2021

Surface Navy Museum and Battleship IOWA Family:

Yesterday was the 78th anniversary of the original commissioning of Battleship USS Iowa! The ship continues to serve today, due in part to your support! Thank you.

Although weather and Covid-19 spread continue to improve in Southern California, indoor museums remain closed. We have seen a slow increase in our attendance over the past couple of weekends to approximately 50% of normal traffic, but continue to experience an enormous reduction in weekday traffic. We are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel, but there is no doubt that the pandemic has changed our operation. I believe these changes are for the better with our streamlined operations coupled with implemented efficiencies.

As we enter our twelfth month of pandemic effects, we are reminded of the challenges we were faced during the refurbishment to museum nine years ago in Richmond, CA. The Richmond experience took about nine months to complete and it created a special crew experience which is celebrated annually. This past Saturday, the crew came together in a memorable virtual reunion planned by Sue Schmidt. The technology team took the opportunity to test their new livestream cube to prepare it for primetime in the coming week. I enjoyed the reunion and reminiscing about the past, but it also deepened my appreciation for the crew over the past twelve months. The “pandemic crew” has been selfless in their commitment to persevere, protect, and further our mission for a brighter future. There is no doubt that the “pandemic crew” will also have long lasting memories that we will celebrate well into the future. Thank you for your commitment toward our future and hope you will consider showing your support at our silent auction or by donating.

Our focus on the future continues to pick up steam with today’s announcement of Ambassador Terry Branstad as a National Campaign Co-Chair.  Ambassador Branstad has been a tremendous advocate and supporter of the Battleship IOWA since his first term as the Governor of Iowa in the 1980s. He is deeply committed to the future of the Battleship IOWA and our transition to the National Museum of the Surface Navy, which ultimately ensures the long-term sustainability of the ship and her important mission. We are excited to have him part of the team to lead our transition for the future.

We are in the process of finalizing our grant submission for the Freedom of the Seas Pavilion Park. Thank you to the community and our entire support base for providing feedback to make our application more competitive. Freedom of the Seas is a key component of the Surface Navy and the museum, and we are excited to announce our first annual Freedom of the Seas Awards in honor of the Battle of Leyte Gulf. This year’s awards are in affiliation with the Surface Navy Association with the SNA Awards on Friday, October 22nd and will end with the Freedom of the Seas Awards on October 23rd. We are finalizing the sponsorship package in the coming week and are beginning our planning efforts for this blockbuster event. The Freedom of the Seas Awards will follow on the heels of LA Fleet Week 2021, which is currently scheduled for Labor Day weekend.

Don’t forget to show your support for the National Museum of the Surface Navy at the Battleship IOWA by signing up to be a Plank Owner for FREE.

This Friday, we invite you to participate in our virtual Gravely Experience at 12 pm Pacific time. This year’s theme is focused on Resilience and Opportunity, a conversation about how to turn challenging moments into positive opportunities. You can register for this event, so reserve your spot today.

We are in the final days of our Silent Auction. Thank you to all of you who bid so far! We really need your help to get the bids up in the final days. Please show all of our donors who provided experiences to bid on how much you appreciate their support by bidding on one or more of your favorite items. I am thrilled to see the interest in a few of the items, but please consider bidding on some of the less popular items to support the museum and ship. The auction ends on Sunday, February 28th. You can access all the items here.

In closing, I wish you my best for a safe and healthy week. Thank you for your support and advocacy!

Jonathan Williams
President and CEO


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