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Museum Update March 8, 2023

In Today’s Update…

Click the links to jump right to each section:

but first…

A Special Message from our CEO

On this International Women’s Day, I would like to recognize and express my gratitude for the remarkable women on our board, crew, management team, and of our partner and supporter base.

Your significant contributions are paving the way and inspiring future generations to continue creating stronger businesses, organizations, and communities. We also celebrate the growing force of women in our Navy – now over 20%, and look forward to sharing your extraordinary achievements in the National Museum of the Surface Navy.

I hope that all of our supporters will join me in recognizing the progress we have made and, more importantly, the work that still needs to be done. Thank you, and happy International Women’s Day!

Jonathan Williams
President & CEO
National Museum of the Surface Navy at the Battleship IOWA


This week we received two new mooring lines, crucial to keeping Battleship IOWA safely alongside her dock – where 14 are employed at a time. The lines can be tough to get and carry a hefty price tag, so we do our best to plan our maintenance and budget orders far in advance, but sometimes Mother Nature has other ideas.

This winter’s weather has thrust many unexpected challenges – and expenses – at us. From needing to replace lines, to repairing wind-torn awnings and damaged beams on our fantail event tent, we’ve been forced to pull tens of thousands of dollars out of the “rainy day” fund to remedy the storms’ destruction.

But at the same time, work goes on.

We finally had enough of a window for our ops team to get our cofferdam redeployed. They’ve been hard at work welding rivets and refurbishing another section of the waterline.

This particular section was a bit special: it included a set of the ship’s draft markings. Click on the video below for some cool footage inside the cofferdam as we bring the numbers back to life.

Our task now is to keep Battleship IOWA in shape so that she can inspire new generations to become sailors, engineers, leaders, innovators, and to keep alive the history that informs our present and guides our future. However, we need your help to do so.

Battleship IOWA’s hull continues to incur natural wear and tear at the wind and water line, impacting its structural integrity. Corrosion of the steel results in “hot spots” that can lead to severe, irreversible damage, which is why we must address the issue on an ongoing basis.

We are fortunate to have leaders in hull preservation techniques as part of our  engineering crew. By donating to the campaign, you are directly supporting their efforts that keep IOWA, the museum, and our organization from sinking.

It goes without saying that this is one of our most important initiatives. To honor IOWA’s 80 years, please click the button below to donate today and keep her afloat for another 80… and beyond.

To ensure your dollars go to the right place, please type “Hull Preservation” into the optional field to “write a note” during the donation checkout process. 


Attention 11th grade students! You are eligible to participate in our annual Gravely Experience Essay Contest. Scholarships ranging from $500 to $2,000 will be awarded.

The contest is open to all high school juniors (11th graders) enrolled in a United States History Course attending public (traditional or chapter), private, or parochial schools, or home-schooled students between the ages of 15-18.

Winners must be able to attend the Freedom of the Seas Awards Gala on Oct. 21, 2023 in San Pedro, California to receive their scholarships.

For details about contest rules and requirements, please click the button below.


Essays must be submitted via email to by, or before, 11:59pm on Sunday, April 29, 2023.

Reach out to Battleship IOWA’s Education Manager, Tiffany Ellerbeck, at, with any questions.


It’s official! VPAN Battleship IOWA now has an office at the Long Beach VA, Veterans Resource Center (VRC). They were kind enough to provide us with a tour of the facility and if you find yourself at the LB VA feel free to swing by and check it out.

Located in Building 165, 1st floor, 3rd door to your left and past the two double doors, you’ve reached the admin check-in area. Let them know you’re there for VPAN and if you look at the video we will be the 2nd office to the right upon entry.



This Saturday, March 11, we’re finally reopening our art gallery – Alfa Romeo Tango – and are pleased to present the artwork of Los Angeles-based artist and Navy veteran J.D. Smith.

J.D. Smith is not your average artist. He did not attend art school, and he has no formal art training. After high school, J.D. started work in the trades as a pipe fitter, joining the Navy shortly thereafter. There he became a boiler-room technician on an amphibious assault ship. 

These experiences gave J.D. a deep and lifelong appreciation for the ships that he and his fellow sailors called home. A life-long passion for the naval history of World War II has led J.D. to create a prolific art practice around the warships that fought in the Pacific.

The result is a trove of painstakingly detailed, beautiful, and deeply-loved renderings of historical vessels. His drawings exude an honest obsession that is hard to look away from.

The reception is free to attend and will take place between 5pm and 8pm. Beverages and appetizers provided. 

For details and to RSVP, please click the button below.

GLOMAR EXPLORER Talk| An Insider’s View of the Legendary Mission with Charlie Canby

And on March 18th at 6:00 PM, join us aboard Battleship IOWA for the thrilling story of a high-stakes, high seas adventure.

In 1974, Glomar Explorer, a sophisticated “research vessel,” constructed by eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, put to sea on a top secret mission for the CIA: recover K-129, a Soviet submarine that sank three miles deep in the Pacific northwest of Hawaii.

This mission is still considered one of the most notorious acts of espionage of the twentieth century… and Charlie Canby was there.

Charlie was a young naval architect who was involved in the project from the time of the ship’s conception and throughout the actual recovery mission. Come hang out in IOWA’s Ward Room and be enthralled by his insider’s perspective.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase throughout the event. Parking available at the lot adjacent to the ship. (First hour is free; $2.00 per hour thereafter.) Guests will check in for the event at the aft gangway.

Click the button below for details and to RSVP.

SCUTTLEBUTT PODCAST | Jose Hernandez: Rigging USS Constitution and More Part 1

When he left small sailboats behind in favor of square riggers, he had no idea he would one day be paid to rig one of the grandest remnants of the Age of Sail: USS CONSTITUTION, the oldest commissioned warship still afloat.

We sat down with Jose to talk about knots and rig work and how a Cuban from Southern California ended up working his dream job in freezing Boston.

Find it here or wherever you get your podcasts:

• Spotify
• Apple
• Google
• Amazon
• Buzzsprout

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 2021 donors for their generosity and support. Want to know how your donations are making a difference? Check out our ANNUAL REPORT here.

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