My sincere appreciation to our entire crew for remembering Jerry Bayless today with a brief service and flag raising. It is moments like this which remind us how precious life is and how grateful we are to come together as Americans to preserve the iconic Battleship IOWA for future generations.
This past week, we celebrated the 75th anniversary of the end of WWII hostilities on August 14, 1945. This is a special date in history and we are appreciative of the Spirit of 45 initiative efforts to never forget.The kissing statue on board the IOWA is courtesy of this organization and we are deeply appreciative for being able to display it for the public to remember the Greatest Generation. Joleen and Marann have connected with the team from the USS Missouri to assist with content leading up to the 75th anniversary of the Surrender Ceremony on September 2nd, 1945. As many of you know, my grandfather was a crew member aboard the Missouri during this significant event and this date has a special meaning to my family.
Our thoughts go out to our supporters in the State of Iowa this week. Numerous Iowa residents had their homes damaged, crops lost, and community deeply affected. The Battleship IOWA Museum boards, leadership, and crew send our prayers for a speedy recovery to the residents of the State of Iowa.
We continue to watch our attendance closely and have experienced a slight dip with the warmer weather. The dip is probably a combination between weather and back to school time. As we enter the post-summer season, we will see our attendance dip further and it will require us to remain focused on tightly managing expenses. We are watching the museum and attraction industry closely, as well as best practices for recovery. There was an article that came out yesterday discussing the less than expected rebound of Orlando theme parks and the subsequent closure of numerous hotels. We believe that the recovery will take months to get to a sustainable level and years before we return to pre-pandemic levels.
The IOWA team continues to focus on virtual engagement to connect to students and supporters worldwide. Our veterans team is working with development on a major grant project for services, our education team is preparing for virtual field trips and webcasts, and our social media team is doing a great job providing interesting content online. It is always exciting to see what the team is doing virtually, but we can’t forget about the crew members that maintain and secure the ship, operate the public programs, perform supporter relations, and perform the daily administration to ensure we are able to continue forward. Thank you to the entire team for all that you do!
As mentioned in my last message, David Canfield and I have taken on additional roles with a company that is building a museum software system. This is the Salesforce based system that we have desperately needed to operate our organization for several years. The pandemic has provided us the opportunity to reduce costs for the IOWA and accelerate development of this system for both our organization and the entire industry. Thank you for your support and understanding, as we have taken significant pay cuts and absorbed added responsibilities.
Last week, we had several conversations regarding the Surface Navy Museum capital campaign. We are ramping up these efforts in the coming weeks, as well as our continued focus on the Plank Owner program. I encourage you to sign up for the Plank Owner program. Please let Joleen or me know if you are interested in participating in a major level with the museum.
In closing, thank you for your continued support.
President & CEO
PS: Make sure you follow our Operation Crush Covid campaign to hear all about the impact of the ship and organization to the crew and community!