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Support the Museum – Donations & Membership

Please consider giving to the Maritime Museum of San Diego!

To Give: Click Here

Year End 2020

A message from Museum President and CEO Dr. Ray Ashley

Dear Shipmates,

It’s been a turbulent year for us all and it’s often I hear longing expressed for 2020 to be behind us. Now, as of this writing, that point is just beyond the horizon and with it, our hopes that we soon emerge into better conditions after weathering the storm.

But we’re not there yet, and the challenges we have still to surmount may well exceed anything we have encountered thus far. While that prospect may feel daunting, we can take some comfort in how our ships, which are but a distillation of our world in microcosm, have managed, despite all, to prevail this year. Faced with the prospect of losing nearly every source of normal revenue available to our Museum, we drastically cut our staff, cut the compensation of the fraction that remained, and slashed all other expenses. We reinvented ourselves as an outdoor museum, and to lure visitors by compensating for the closure of the internal and gallery spaces, we offered a free narrated historical tour of the Bay to every visitor. Astoundingly, this has allowed us to reclaim about 50% of our normal attendance. To comply with health and safety standards, we had to eliminate our entire educational program. But to compensate, we dramatically expanded the online resources offered to students and teachers and while this doesn’t produce any revenue, it maintains our connection with our educators and continues our commitment to our educational mission.

As soon as county guidelines allowed for it, we saw the return of our dedicated volunteers, especially among the sail/maintenance crew. Not only has this allowed us to keep up with the condition of the ships, but we completed major projects, like the replacement of the Surprise’s entire decks, and checked off other maintenance projects that had been on the “to do” list for years. Pealing bright-work is once again shining, decks are water tight, gangways are stable, engines are running more smoothly, paint is fresh and there is even a new model exhibit gallery as part of the “outdoor museum.” Furthermore, planning is well in progress for several new and innovative exhibits to present to our visitors once we can reopen entirely. Positions that could not be filled due to lack of staff have been manned, there are volunteers to serve as deck hands, mechanics, engineers, tour guides and even janitors. Thousands of volunteer hours have been logged.

Finally, our appeals, (of which this is one), have resulted in an outpouring of generosity. At the beginning of this crisis when we took the drastic steps we did, I was reporting our projected financial life span to the Board in terms of months. Thanks to all of these efforts, but especially to your continuing generosity, we have attained a measure of sustainability as we stand down our course.

To evoke yet one more analogy, the water in the hold has finally stopped rising, thanks to you, but we will still have to pump continuously to stay afloat.

We can do that because we are a crew, and when the need arises as it now does, we know the measure of dedication in response to the call.

The glass is rising but there’s likely a bit of dirty weather still to come, so remember that one hand is for the ships but one is for you – stay safe!

Captain Ray Ashley, PhD, KCI
President and CEO, Maritime Museum of San Diego

2020 Year end appeal image

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 our current restrictions, we are not accepting requests for ticket donations.

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.