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CEO Update May 3, 2021


Los Angeles County is expected to reach the least-restrictive “yellow tier” of the state’s reopening blueprint this coming Thursday. This level should further relax the protocol when it comes to occupancy, events, and overnights. As mentioned last week, both events and overnights have recently reopened in compliance with public health guidance and can be booked with Catherine at

Although restrictions have been relaxed, tourism still remains at its lowest levels in years. This status has a strong effect on our weekday attendance, and less on the weekends. After seeing a strong rebound during spring break, we have more recently seen this increase taper off with our weekends averaging a 30% reduction from 2019 and the weekdays at about a 60% reduction. Definitely better than months back, but still a ways from full recovery. We are hopeful that the summer season will trend with the spring break period and stronger than normal numbers. In simple words, our visitation follows the school calendar – less when school is in and more when school is out.

Thankfully the SBA finally released the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) application portal last week. This grant program was established by the Hard-Hit Small Business, Nonprofits, and Venues Act in 2020 and will be a welcome relief to some of the hardest hit organizations. The criteria to apply for this grant are in-depth with numerous updates prior to the release of the program. Fortunately our Finance and Accounting team was tracking every change, preparing paperwork in advance, and ensuring our registrations were up to date so they could respond quickly when this program was released. This response was an enormous undertaking, especially considering the team’s regular activities of maintaining the books, generating reports, and assisting with the annual audit.

Did I say audit? Yes I did, but this isn’t the type of audit that shows up in the mail asking questions about tax returns. Our annual audit is an in-depth review of our financial position and a requirement by state law for nonprofits with budgets over $2 million. You have the ability to review our audits on our website.

Virtual museum programs continue to pick up pace with support from the digital innovation team, including recent updates to the online tour system and software upgrades in support of the Surface Navy Museum Plank Owner program. The integration with Together We Served (TWS) will be live in the coming week or two and we are thankful for TWS’s support of the National Museum of the Surface Navy.

In coming months, the technology and development teams will introduce additional enhancements to the Plank Owner program including the Haze Gray incentive system.  Make sure to tell your friends to sign up as a Plank Owner. It’s free!

The museum’s crewmembers, both volunteer and staff, are out in force to support the overall efforts of the museum, ranging from electrical infrastructure, deck repair, tours and improvements, museum enhancements, volunteer services, training and safety, securing the museum, marketing the museums programs, operating programs in education, veterans, and community, development, administration, and much more.  As we approach our ten-year anniversary, the team has a lot to be proud of, and many of the original volunteers and staff are still here today! Let the team know how much you appreciate them, by replying to this email with your words of encouragement and appreciation. If you want to send a separate note, you can email it to


Your support of the Hull Preservation campaign shows the crew how much you truly care about the museum and our efforts to open the National Museum of the Surface Navy aboard Battleship IOWA. Over the weekend, two separate donors each offered a challenge match of $5,000 for a total of $10,000 towards the Hull Preservation campaign. Your support over the past few weeks has helped us secure the other matches to date, so please donate and/or spread the word to help us achieve this match!  The need is real, as you may have seen in our end of the week videos by the team. Donate here!


Concurrently with the Hull Preservation campaign, we continue our efforts on the capital campaign with a commitment to open the National Museum of the Surface Navy aboard the IOWA on the 250th birthday of the U.S. Navy – October 13th, 2025. We are already in discussions with several donors, including corporations, to include them as leaders and supporters of the initiative. We are receiving enthusiastic support for the campaign, storyline, and the museum. Let us know if you are interested in further supporting the museum efforts by reaching out to Joleen at

I am often asked how someone can support our efforts, especially if they are unable to come to the museum in person. As we expand our reach, we have made virtual initiatives an important part of our museum programs. In addition to donating, there are several ways you can support the museum and program efforts regardless of where you may be located. We are already a national-reach museum with our virtual efforts!

Support the organization and museum:

  • Volunteer to become a part of the crew onboard the ship or virtually if you are able to provide skills including computer programming, administration, design, or even virtual sessions – if you are a great story teller!
  • Provide in-kind products or services towards the museum efforts. We have a variety of supporters that have adopted essential costs including wood repair and replacement, paint sponsorship, signs, engraving of plaques, computers, or something as simple as office supplies.
  • Send words of appreciation and encouragement to the crew for their efforts. Show them how much they matter and how much you appreciate their support of the museum.
  • Spread the word on why the museum matters by forwarding this message to your friends and family, ask them to come in-person, book a virtual program, become a Plank Owner, volunteer, and/or donate.

We wouldn’t have made it through the pandemic recession without your support, both moral and financial. Our deepest appreciation for always being there when we need you most!

Have an amazing and blessed week!

Jonathan Williams
President & CEO


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