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CEO Update November 24, 2020

Surface Navy Museum & IOWA Family:

As we head into Thanksgiving, many of us will be enjoying much smaller gatherings than in years past. It is a reflection of where we currently are in the pandemic.

For many of us, a cure, vaccine, or end can’t come quick enough. With the increase in cases, we have seen a further reduction in traffic aboard IOWA. Today, the County of Los Angeles has decided to shutdown outdoor dining for at least three weeks. Los Angeles has remained in the most restrictive tier of the reopening plan since early July, after being shut down for almost three months from March to June. The life-altering impact this pandemic is having on each of us, small businesses, the IOWA, and other museums is horrible.

As a non-essential organization, we are part of the minority that is disproportionately affected. We watch from the sidelines as many corporations are reporting record revenues, yet access to financing remains limited for small organizations such as ours. Limited options remain to provide the necessary resources to weather this pandemic for an indefinite period of time. The options remaining are generally focused on staff reductions and cost cutting measures, with a roll of the dice on new revenue sources. The most difficult part of making any decision is the impact that will result to the individuals and families affected. Luckily your support has helped us limit additional staffing reductions and cost cutting measures over the past couple of months.

Covid-19 has a wide range of impacts on each of us. We have lost crew members, friends, and family from it. Without going into details, it has hit close to home for me as well. I am not afraid of Covid-19, but I will do everything possible to avoid it. As a person with underlying conditions, I have an appreciation for the effects it may have. I have to admit that the anxiety from watching the first hand effect on our crew and staff, ruining their near-term future and possibly the long-term, is more painful than facing my own mortality. Numerous museums will be shuttered and the important stories they represent may be lost, creating a multi-generational impact. I am sad that it is highly likely we will lose important pieces of American culture and history forever.

What are we, the Pacific Battleship Center team, doing to counter this? We are innovating and trying to reinvent ourselves. We are transitioning to the National Museum of the Surface Navy at the Battleship IOWA. Our digital innovation team has been working on standing up our virtual museum. The ops team is working on an outdoor food service option. There are numerous bright spots, but eachs need time to germinate and grow. We need your support to spread the word on all of the great things we are doing and your financial contributions to help us sustain this battle to the end.

Will we survive? I am confident that this crew with your support will. What will our survival look like? Very different from what we looked like prior to the pandemic. From the small remaining board and crew (staff and volunteer), I can reassure you that we will give it 110% to survive the pandemic.

To our crew, you continue to motivate us as leaders. Your dedication and commitment to show up regularly and in some cases every day is deeply appreciated. You are selfless warriors and we owe you a deep debt of gratitude. The leadership team will fight with you and for you to make sure we never give up.

What does the future look like? I believe that the post-pandemic era will be bright and prosperous. Gatherings will return, there will be resurgence in travel, and the economy will prosper. Following the 1918 flu pandemic, our country experienced the “Roaring 20s.”

We are thankful in 2020 for the tremendous support of donors like you, dedicated crew members, and the perseverance to battle this pandemic. We are approaching the end of the Covid-19 pandemic and we need your help more than ever.

Specifically, how can you help?

–  Share our virtual tour amongst your networks.
–  Donate and share our plea for contributions.
–  Share our plank owner program.
–  Contribute time as a volunteer.

Below is my receipt for my donation today. Will you join me and do the same?


Happy Thanksgiving and God bless!

Jonathan Williams

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