Support the Museum

Support the Museum

Membership and Donations

Our next restoration project is the deck and weather side of HMS Surprise. As always, we appreciate any gifts to help cover these costs.

To Donate Today, CLICK HERE

Dear Shipmates,

“The Age of Fighting Sail” is one of the most storied and formative periods evoked in literature, film, and art. Ships like HMS Surprise were critical components in the rise of nation states, the formation of oceanic empires, the sea-born exploration of the world and the founding of oceanography. As the sole working representation in the Pacific of a typical small eighteenth century warship, HMS Surprise embodies the age when the greatest of oceans was first rendered comprehensively on the chart and then became a vast battlefield. It’s no wonder that HMS Surprise remains the star of what many consider to be both the most successful series of historical fiction novels and the greatest seafaring epic film of all time, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World.

For this reason, Surprise is invaluable. Data on visitors and school groups show that she adds to our entrance gate revenue more than any other ship except for Star of India. Revenue generated by her draw helps us to support the other vessels. Surprise is our movie star and her fame helps keep us relevant. Once here, guests can make the connection to experience and understand what it may have been like to lay aloft to reef tops’ls in a gale, raise an undiscovered island, sight a strange sail on the horizon, or experience battle on a crowded gun deck filled with smoke, noise, and the crashing impact of shot.

Like any ship, HMS Surprise is subject to the same attrition of time and the sea that has made the kind of experience she provides so rare in the world, despite its significance and allure. In 2020 she will be 50 years old. As prescribed by the US Coast Guard during her last inspection, the Museum will embark on the ambitious goal of re-planking the entire starboard side of the frigate. In addition, the laminate technique that proved so successful in replacing decks on Star of India and Californian will be used to restore her weathered decks. By making these repairs, we protect her for twenty-five more years and ensure that she can continue to host educational programs and guests alike. Will you make part of your holiday giving a gift of maritime history?

When you help maintain HMS Surprise, you help maintain the Museum as an asset to our whole community. You will be giving forward a gift of experiential history to a future student or guest. Join us in this project and help to share what you value.

Fair winds,
Ray Ashley,
Ph.D., K.C. I., President /CEO

Contribute Today, CLICK HERE

HMS Surprise deck work

HMS Surprise

Photo by Jerry Soto

Make a 100% tax-deductible investment the Maritime Museum’s mission of preserving our history and you are investing in your communities future.


To Donate Today, Click Here

To Join, Renew, and Gift Memberships, CLICK HERE

Museum Membership

As a member of the Maritime Museum of San Diego, you support our preservation and education efforts, and in return receive many benefits! Bring the adventure and discovery to life as often as you would like – choose the membership plan that is right for you.

Membership packages include these benefits:

  • FREE admission
  • FREE guest passes
  • Maritime journal Mains’l Haul
  • FREE newsletters
  • 10% discount at Museum gift shop
  • FREE or reduced admission to Museum events
  • Plus so much more

Museum Membership Grid

Join, renew, and gift Memberships.

For more information contact our Membership Coordinator at 619-234-9153 x128
or click here to send email.

Through your membership, you support the Maritime Museum of San Diego, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving and presenting our rich Pacific maritime heritage.

Maritime Museum of San Diego is supported by Amazon using Amazon Smile

amazon smile supporting the maritime museum of san diego
Click the Amazon Smile logo and it will direct you to, choose Maritime Museum Association of San Diego as the place you want to support, shop as usual, and the Museum gets a percentage of the sale. It’s that easy.


Maritime Museum of San Diego is proud to introduce an exciting new promotional partnership with WoodenBoat Magazine, the premier publication worldwide for wooden boat owners, builders, enthusiasts and designers.

When you use our exclusive website to subscribe, WoodenBoat Magazine will donate $10 to the Maritime Museum of San Diego per new subscriber!

You can support the Museum’s restoration efforts, ongoing educational programs, exhibits and fun-filled cruise events, while enjoying all the exclusive content that WoodenBoat Magazine has to offer.

For more than forty years, WoodenBoat Magazine has provided generations of readers with all the latest news, innovations and thoughtful commentary on traditional methods of boat design, construction and repair, with vibrant photography, engaging feature articles, and detailed project, design and maintenance advice. A one-year subscription includes six unique print issues delivered to your home – save up to 29% off the cost of buying on newsstands!

Subscribe for yourself, or give a gift to a friend, and take advantage of this special offer supporting Maritime Museum of San Diego!

You can follow the link below, call toll-free 800-877-5284 (use the promo code 99MMSD), or stop by the Maritime Museum Gift Store to subscribe in person.

Click Here to take advantage of the Special Offer


Planned Giving

Welcome! We are pleased that you are interested in learning about the many benefits of gift plans. If you have any questions about the best way for you to benefit through a planned gift, please call. A member of our Planned Giving Team will be glad to help you. Contact Development at 619-234-9153 x 126

To learn about:

  • Donor Stories
  • Gift Options
  • Personal Planner
  • Washington News
Click Here

Vehicle Donation Program

A San Diego treasure, the Maritime Museum of San Diego is more than a collection of world-class exhibits and ships. It is a family of volunteers, members, and supporters like you, who are joined together by their passion for the sea, maritime history, and creating an inspiring and enlightening experience for children and adults alike. Thank you for your support.

Donating Is Easy!

Donating a car is easy! And so is donating other vehicles. We accept all types of vehicles nationwide — cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, ATVs, and even boats.

To get started: Click Here
or call 844-790-GIVE (4483) to speak to a representative.

All that you will need to provide is the Certificate of Title upon pickup of your donated vehicle.

Ticket Donations

Thank you for considering the Maritime Museum of San Diego as an item for your fundraising event. We take pride in our support of local nonprofit organizations for such events benefiting our San Diego community. As a nonprofit organization we reviewed the large number of tickets we donate and found the need to re-evaluate the criteria we use for ticket donation selection.

These guidelines are recently updated and your organization’s request will be considered based on the following criteria:

  • You must be located within San Diego County.
  • Your organization must be a nonprofit and will be using Maritime Museum of San Diego tickets as a fundraising item.
  • Preference will be given to organizations that:
    • align with the Maritime Museum’s Mission (see below statement)
    • are an affiliate organization
    • a partner organization
    • or an organization that has participated in our education programs, or had an event on one of our ships.
  • Four general admission tickets are provided per conforming organization and/or event, and are limited to (1) one request per year. Please avoid submitting multiple requests, including mailed submissions, to avoid duplications.
  • Donated admission tickets are limited to the value of General Admission only and are not valid to use for special events, exhibit surcharges, or any event deemed exempt by the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
  • Value of ticket donations are subject to change at the sole discretion of the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
  • No cash value is applicable for donated tickets although they are fully transferable.
  • The Maritime Museum of San Diego requests that any organization that receives donated tickets place an acknowledgment within any marketing materials or programs that support the event.

Our Mission Statement

The mission of the Maritime Museum of San Diego is to serve as the community memory of our seafaring experience by collecting, preserving, and presenting our rich maritime heritage and historic connections with the Pacific world.

CLICK HERE for online application requesting a donation.
Regular mail, send your request for donations to:

Maritime Museum of San Diego

Attn: Request for Donations

1492 North Harbor Drive

San Diego, CA 92101-3309

All donation requests will be reviewed within two weeks.

Looking for a venue to host your future fundraising event? Please call or email our Special Events Department to discuss your needs. Click here to send email or 619-234-9153 ext 102 or 106.

For a look at our venues, visit Event Venues San Diego.

Join in the adventure! The Maritime Museum of San Diego is home to the maritime story of the West Coast and beyond with one of the most extensive collections of historic ships in the world. Donations & membership helps to tell the maritime story and to preserve these ships.

Every single gift matters. Taken in the aggregate, all gifts, large and small, are essential to the overall goal. So join us at whatever level you can.

Federal ID # 95-2130325

“Ships are the nearest things to dreams that hands have ever made, for somewhere deep in their oaken hearts the soul of a song is laid.”
– Robert N. Rose

To learn more about the many opportunities to contribute to the Maritime Museum. Contact Development at 619-234-9153 x 126
or click here to send email.