CEO Update March 2, 2021

Surface Navy Museum at the Battleship IOWA Family:

We are coming off one of our most exciting weekends since the beginning of the pandemic. The increase in traffic onboard and on the roads was noticeable and resulted in one of our best weekends since March 2020. Our attendance was still less than our non-Covid numbers, but the positive direction has definitely raised the crew’s spirits.

In addition to visitors, there were two military ceremonies, several virtual guided tours for groups across the nation, and a lowering of Turret 3 guns to get ready for a film shoot in the coming weeks. The small but mighty crew came together to make it seamless and I couldn’t be prouder.

Our virtual programs have been gaining traction and popularity with the excellent production of the Gravely Experience last Friday. To add to this great webcast, the team also produced a video on Anchor Windlass, a STEM education video on weather tools, and our first live video from Aft AMR. I have to admit that the live video with veteran David Canfield and our video guru Marann was awesome! You can view these videos and more on our YouTube channel. You can also book your own customized virtual guided tour or session for your student, family, or group by emailing

The virtual museum efforts are exciting and are complementary to our onboard programs. As I am certain you are well aware by now, we are becoming the National Museum of the Surface Navy at the Battleship IOWA. Every day the board and leadership team work on fundraising, design, and planning efforts which support the new role that we play in educating the public on freedom of the seas.

Our efforts today are focused on supporting the major museum exhibits opening in 2025. Ironically, 2025 is also the 250th birthday year for the U.S. Navy! The list is long, but specific projects underway include our waterfront food and beverage opportunity called “Vicky’s Dog House,” Freedom of the Seas Park and Pavilion, Surface Navy Museum panels and displays, a US Navy environmental display, infrastructure planning and installation, and our recently announced Freedom of the Seas Awards on October 23, 2021. All of these efforts would not be possible without the tremendous support of cash and in-kind donors like yourself, numerous partners and affiliates, and a dedicated crew. Thank you for your support!

Thank you also to all of the donors and crew that supported the recently completed silent auction. We were able to raise much needed funding to support the organization during these pandemic struggles. Today, the team begins the work to notify the winners and thank the donors. In the next couple of weeks, we will close out the silent auction efforts and begin our annual hull preservation campaign.

Hull preservation is one of our top priorities, as a weak underwater hull will only result in shortening the life span of the ship. We have been blessed with tremendous support from the state of Iowa to initiate the hull preservation program with an advanced cathodic protection system, cofferdams to perform waterline work, and a comprehensive program to ensure that our foundation remains strong well into the future. Every year, we must raise between $200,000 and $250,000 to cover the costs necessary to maintain the hull for long-term preservation. I hope you will consider supporting this campaign when we announce it in the coming weeks.

My best wishes for an amazing and safe week for you and your family. We look forward to seeing you on deck or virtually in the coming weeks and months.

Jonathan Williams
President and CEO

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