Support the Museum

Support the Museum – Donations & Membership

Please consider giving to the Maritime Museum of San Diego!

To Give: Click Here

Dear Shipmates,

It was May of 1918, and her immediate world, as well as the whole world beyond, seemed frozen by events beyond human control. After nearly four years of global war, humanity remained locked in the greatest man-made catastrophe of history to date. With Russia in violent revolution and out of the war, the latest German spring offensive on the Western Front was collapsing under the weight of 270,000 casualties in the course of a single month. Going almost unnoticed at first among the seemingly endless spirals of destruction and misery, beginning in March, reports of a strange, contagious, and lethal illness began to circulate from clinics and hospitals in the United States, France, Britain, and Germany where the alarming information was for a time suppressed by layers of wartime censorship. It was in neutral Spain, where no such oversight was imposed on the reporting of news, that word of the new disease first came to worldwide attention, causing attribution of what would thereafter be called the Spanish flu. As the war ground on, the virus began to spread around the earth in waves, ultimately adding somewhere between 20 million to 100 million deaths to the already horrendous toll taken by the war itself.

And in May, at a remote and far distant periphery of global crisis, the impression of being both frozen in place, yet carried irretrievably toward doom, was unfolding in microcosm. In Bristol Bay, off the coast of Alaska, a number of sailing ships were trapped by gigantic and unyielding sheets of ice. The ice crushed and sank some of them, sometimes with all hands; others the ice carried slowly toward a fatal encounter with coastal reefs and rocks as they drifted with the currents. One of those seemingly doomed ships was Star of India.

Bound in ice paintingFor day after day as she got ever closer to the rocks, her crew waited and hoped for the ice to melt and set them free. Their numbers were occasionally augmented by the survivors of other ships already crushed or sunk, arriving by foot from across the ice. They didn’t know for sure if the ice would melt in time, only that eventually it would. If they held out, help would arrive to haul them from danger. This help ultimately came in the form of the steam schooner Nushagak, which broke through the opening ice fields, took their line, and towed Star of India to deep water. One of the most well-known photos we have of Star of India was taken shortly thereafter having cheated death once again, and sailing proudly through Unimak pass toward a future of unknown possibilities. That was more than a century ago.

Today, again as a tiny fragment of the world in microcosm, we seem once more to have broken free from apparently endless entrapment, sailing toward that future of unknown possibilities. In a strange turn of the cycles which govern us all, Star of India could count on her crew once more, the symbolic descendants of all the crews that have ever served her and to count also once more for help, this time in the form of you, our generous donors who have sent that tow line across and whose help we need still.

The ice is finally receding and the wind is filling the sails. The melody is subtle but with your help I think we can once more start to hear the call of water passing under her bow.

Dr. Ray Ashley, PhD., K.C.I., President and C.E.O.

Ship bound in ice

To Give: Click Here

Or send your donation to :
Maritime Museum of San Diego
1492 N Harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92101

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.

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

Museum Store and online Store are closed at this time. We will let you know when we are able to reopen them.

Thank you for your support.

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 & Bay Tour Tickets (4 guest passes & 2 bay tour tickets with each membership)
  • Maritime journal Mains’l Haul
  • FREE newsletters
  • Crew and upper level memberships, includes 2 children per card (if you have more than 2, you can use guest passes for admittance)
  • 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.

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Click the Amazon Smile logo and it will direct you to, 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.

Due to staffing changes necessitated by COVID restrictions, we are not accepting requests for ticket donations at this time. We look forward to being able to grant requests, when we can increase our capacity.

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.