CEO Update for May 26, 2020 – Reopening on May 30, 2020

Flag designed by George Palaziol, US Coast Guard Veteran.

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This week, we begin a new chapter in the life of the Battleship IOWA Museum, as we plan to reopen our outdoor decks only for visitors on Saturday, May 30th. We owe a debt of gratitude for the leadership of Governor Gavin Newsom, Assemblymember Mike Gipson, L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn, and L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti for guiding us through this crisis so that we may open as an outdoor museum. Of course, this wouldn’t be possible without your support during this crisis which has helped us reinvent the organizations education, veterans, and community programs.

Opening our outdoor decks for visitation is a major step in our continued transition as a community driven National Museum. I feel strongly that the reopening of the ship as an outdoor museum reinforces the IOWA’s role over 75 years as a symbol of American freedom and ideals.

Your continued moral and financial support will help us continue to take on the challenge of this crisis until a vaccine or herd immunity is prevalent. While reopening is exciting, we project that our earned revenues will continue to only cover approximately 30% of the costs to operate the ship. Our Development team will remain focused on generating contributions to support our Education, Veterans, and Community programming, in addition to critical maintenance needs.

Unfortunately, as mentioned before we are entering an entirely new chapter for our organization and this will affect some of our family. My heart hurts for those that may be affected, especially those that have lost loved ones or their job during this crisis. Jobs that required close proximity to the general public will change and possibly be eliminated for the foreseeable future.

We must rely on the amazing IOWA Family that has been built between crew, donors, and supporters to come together to persevere during this crisis. The closest I can compare it to is the experience of pulling the ship out of mothballs to ready her to come to Los Angeles. As many of you know, this memorable experience affectionately became known as “Richmond”. In 2020, we will take on the impossible as we come together as a family to take on the Covid-19 crisis aboard IOWA. I have no doubt that the IOWA Family will come together stronger than ever and support each other to ensure we come out stronger, more agile, and incredibly proud of what we accomplished.

As a symbol of our Nation’s fortitude and the IOWA’s Family comradery, we have designed a flag that will fly from the halyard of the ship until all American’s are able to return to a life free from fear of this virus. The flag honor’s essential workers and all American’s with images that represent freedom, liberty, life, strength, and prosperity. This symbol will represent our duty as today’s IOWA Family to come together to take on this crisis.

I am honored to take on this crisis with each of you by my side. Changes will be challenging, but I am confident that we will come together to adapt and persevere.

Let’s do this!

Jonathan Williams
President & CEO
Battleship IOWA Museum  |  National Museum of the Surface Navy

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