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Iowans for Battleship IOWA

Protect the Enduring Legacy of Battleship USS IOWA

Your donation helps ensure the iconic ship continues her mission and service for generations to come

Since 2011, retired Battleship USS IOWA has served as an iconic attraction and community platform, highlighting the service of the ship and her sailors, their mission to protect freedom of the seas, and the continued influence of the state of Iowa. However, without addressing critical preservation and maintenance challenges, the ship’s future is in jeopardy.

Ranked #4 out of 929 “things to do in Los Angeles” on TripAdvisor, Battleship IOWA reaches over 400,000 people annually through tours, events, and programming focused on education, veterans, and community. This success has been fueled by the generosity of donors who have volunteered countless hours, contributed millions of dollars, and advocated for the ship and her important role as a museum.

To ensure the ship and her mission endure, we launched the Iowans for Battleship IOWA Campaign. We have a goal of establishing a $50 million endowment to support annual USS IOWA preservation and maintenance efforts in perpetuity.

We graciously ask for your consideration of making a donation toward these efforts as we pursue this goal.

Battleship IOWA proudly serves as an ambassador for the state’s namesake, annually hosting thousands of Iowans onboard at no charge and promoting “Iowa” around the globe with 50 million impressions – a figure we expect to grow significantly with planned expansions onboard and adjacent to the ship. We envision a few additions, including building the Freedom of the Seas “Iowa Memorial Plaza,” a statue of the Sullivan Brothers, and displays of ships named after Iowa and its cities.

Your support will help the Battleship IOWA continue to ignite curiosity, connect communities, and enhance understanding of America’s role in maritime peace and prosperity for generations to come.




If you look at the history of battleships, you find photos of hundreds of sailors polishing the gleaming teak decks – an extraordinary image that stays with us always. Here aboard IOWA, with deck ranging in age from forty to nearly eighty years, we have a problem.

Sun and weather have taken their toll. Decaying wood allows water to become trapped against bulkheads and to pool underneath deck boards. That moisture is actually eroding the steel and allowing water to seep into the interior of the vessel.

Speaking of deck wood… We get questions all the time about repairing the ship’s degraded decking with traditional teak. While emotionally we would love to do that, it isn’t feasible.

In the first place, teak takes 80-100 years to mature and consequently has become much more expensive and difficult to obtain. Douglas fir, which we have used in recent years to restore portions of the deck, isn’t as durable as teak and therefore requires more frequent replacement.

For long term sustainability (and to better steward our resources) we are exploring wood-look synthetics that have begun to see use and acceptance in the cruise ship and yachting industries.

How can you help? Anything you can contribute – be it financially or by spreading the word about the need – can make a huge difference.


We’re fortunate. Battleship IOWA’s hull is largely in great shape, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have a major challenge.

The hull is protected from the waterline down by an impressed current cathodic protection system that creates a small electric charge underwater and prevents corrosion from taking hold. We also have an internal version of it to protect the ship from the inside.

Our area of concern is the wind and water line where oxygen and wave action combine. These elements cause rust and decay. We have a method for dealing with this challenge: we deploy cofferdams so we can work in that region.

What’s the problem? Finding the time and manpower to deal with 887 some odd feet of waterline. If we could dedicate two people to full time cofferdam work, it would go a long way toward keeping us ahead of the deterioration curve. What’s stopping us from doing that? Funding.

What can you do? The same as for deck preservation: any way you can help us raise the funds to pay for materials and labor will make a significant difference.

Site developed by Wicked Code, Inc. and funded by The Edward E. & Marie L. Matthews Foundation •  Photos by Rick Stipa Photography
Other photos - US Navy Archives and National Archives

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