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CEO Update – Sept. 27, 2023

September 27, 2023

Hello friends,

September has been a bustling month with various ongoing efforts, and some of our crew members have been taking well-deserved breaks.

The surveys you participated in over the past couple of months have been invaluable in helping us understand the importance of the museum and how we can better present our story moving forward.

What we’ve learned from recent discussions and feedback is that we need to improve in explaining the impact of our activities. We are at the forefront of innovation and making a positive impact as we continue to transform a WWII battleship into a hub for social impact and knowledge-building activities.

COO Mike Getscher recently attended the HNSA (Historic Naval Ships Association) Conference, where he led a discussion on preservation and maintenance. He shared our innovative efforts in preserving Battleship IOWAs hull, including why we choose to work within a cofferdam.

One key takeaway from our approach is that we prioritize preventative maintenance over reactive due to the limited dry dock capacity and availability on the west coast. Dry docking the IOWA could easily cost over $30 million and could take more than 12 months due to the lack of capacity.

Battleship USS Iowa and USNS Mercy

I had the opportunity to speak to the community last Thursday about our organization’s impact since the arrival of the IOWA in 2012 and our future goals. The audience was amazed by several statistics, such as an annual average of 55,000 hours of volunteer work, over 20,000 students participating in educational programs every year, support for more than 900 veterans per month, training opportunities for first responders, and our ranking as the #4 museum in Los Angeles by TripAdvisor.

However, these numbers don’t capture the why.

  • Volunteers become part of a like-minded community, offering a sense of belonging and skill development that helps with underemployment, longevity, and overall well-being. It is impactful, transformational, and extraordinary. If you’d like to join this team, click here
  • Students participating in our educational programs are inspired and gain curiosity as they visit the ship and see an active port for the first time
    • We provide many of these young people with scholarships to come aboard for free, as they come from underserved communities in Los Angeles
    • Donors help cover these scholarships, but current economic conditions have precipitated a decrease in those funds and we could use your support. If you feel strongly about providing kids an opportunity to experience the Battleship IOWA and a dynamic, real-world learning environment, please click here to contribute
  • Our veterans’ activities provide a sense of camaraderie and community, helping service members transition to civilian life, providing support services, and being there when they are in need. A generous county grant supports some of our programs, but we rely on donors for numerous others. Our program availability depends on support and capacity. To support Veterans West programming, you donate here
Battleship USS Iowa and USNS Mercy

I continually ask myself if we’re doing our best to support our region and if our thinking as a museum is visionary. We believe a museum isn’t just a repository of old artifacts – it’s a place that transforms communities and shares stories of social impact to create a brighter, more prosperous future.

That’s our commitment to our community and nation, and we hope you share that vision.

I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming months as we articulate our vision and mission and continue our journey to build our nation’s transformative campus, focused on the Surface Navy’s role in safeguarding freedom of the seas.


Jonathan Williams
President & CEO

SCUTTLEBUTT PODCAST | Season 2 Episode 15: Joe Sienkiewicz – Our Favorite “Weather Guesser” On 2023’s Crazy Storms

Joe Sienkiewicz from NOAA’s Ocean Predictions Center (otherwise known as our favorite “weather guesser”) is our ace in the hole when it comes to inclement weather that’s headed our way. He’s been instrumental in helping us stay on top of how to prepare for events like Tropical Storm Hilary.

This former tug boat operator sat down with us for a fascinating (did you know the buoys offshore can read the sizes of waves that refract off our breakwater?) conversation about the way weather works in the San Pedro Channel area.

(In case you missed Part 1 of this talk, click here to catch up.)

And find this week’s episode here or wherever you get your podcasts:


Or click the photo below for the video version.

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NOTE: If you prefer not to donate electronically, please mail your check to:
Attention: Development Department, 250 S. Harbor Blvd., San Pedro, CA 90731

Thank you to our 2022 donors for their generosity and support. Want to know how your donations are making a difference? Check out our ANNUAL REPORT here.

From now until September 30, 2023, use the promo code NMSN23 and get an EXTRA 3 MONTHS added to your membership! Click below to learn more and join.

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