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July 27, 2020 Museum Update

Battleship IOWA and Surface Navy Museum Family:

I am sending this email from the deck of the Battleship IOWA, where we are experiencing beautiful weather and great support! We are all dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 and while the challenges can feel gloomy at times, the sun certainly reminds us that today’s issue will come to a close in the future. All of us will be impacted differently and our thoughts go out to each and every crew member and supporter that is affected by this virus.

We continue to manage our resources tightly and as I have stated in prior messages, I believe this will continue for several months into the future. Our attendance continues to be in the 10% to 15% range in comparison to 2019, our events and overnights remain closed, store and photo remain closed, and the Flight Simulator shut down for the foreseeable future. Many of you may have seen the recent article on NPR that stated that one-third of U.S. Museums may not survive the year. I fear this prediction is more true than not, as we have seen first-hand the impact on public programming.

The decisions that have to be made during these challenging times affect the health and well-being of all Americans. Not only do they affect the livelihood of our paid crew, but also the education of our youth, socialization opportunities for veterans and seniors, and all of society at some level. This article states that “There’s a large public perception that museums rely on government support, when the reality is they get only a quarter of their funding from the government…”

Unfortunately for the Battleship IOWA Museum, we don’t receive funding from the government for our operations and solely rely upon donations and earned revenue. With our earned revenue reduced by over 90%, your donations are more critical than ever and I want to thank you for your continued support!

On the donation front, our capable development team led by Joleen Deatherage is launching our Operation Crush COVID campaign this week on the GoFundMe platform. We have had the opportunity to work closely with GoFundMe in creating this unique campaign and thank you to the crew that provided their personal stories of their relationship with the museum. This campaign is focused on sustaining the IOWA during our continued evolution into the National Museum of the Surface Navy.

Operation Crush COVID

Speaking of the National Museum of the Surface Navy, we have successfully launched our Plank Owner program for this important museum to be based aboard Battleship IOWA. It is FREE to become a Plank Owner, but you have an opportunity to support the future museum through donations and volunteer opportunities. In a short couple of weeks, we have had several hundred new Plank Owners sign up and we are excited that both veterans and families of veterans are signing up for this program. Your assistance in recognizing yourself and/or a loved one is important to tell the story of the Surface Navy and we hope that you will share this unique opportunity with your network.

Plank Owner Certificate

National Museum of the Surface Navy Plank Owner Certificate

Our museum operations team continues to perform maintenance work with painting, welding, electrical, and decking on board ship.  I am always excited to see their posts on social media and the e-blasts that come out describing the work they are doing.  Kudos to the team!

Recognizing the entire team is always difficult but a special shout out to security for always making sure we are safe and in compliance with county orders, our tour team that shows up and helps the few guests that visit daily, our administration team including our volunteer coordinator and finance, our IT team that keeps our network operational, our education team that is hosting valuable online learning opportunities, our veterans team that is supporting veterans in the area, and our marketing team that continues answering calls and inquiries.

We have introduced several new features on our website including virtual tours and an online artifact gallery.  A shout out to the curatorial team for working at a rapid pace to get items up on our website!  Thank you!

We have also added a “News & Updates” page with current happenings at the museum and the Navy.

Of course, none of this would be possible without your support! Your support allows us to continue forward with our work in education, veterans, and community. Your support ensures that we are able to remain for future generations and becomes something greater. Your support makes me proud to be associated with the Battleship IOWA Family.

Stay safe and thank you!

Jonathan Williams
President & CEO

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