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Deck the Star of India appeal letter from our CEO/President Ray Ashley, PhD

Dear Shipmate:

As we near the end of a year of great accomplishments, including the launching of San Salvador after so much effort in research, planning, and construction, it is perhaps worth a moment of reflection to contemplate how far our institution has come since the day in 1927 when Star of India entered San Diego Bay and our hearts. Now the proud flagship of a fleet that spans five centuries, she has ever remained one of our city’s most beloved symbols. Of the many thousands of sailing ships which conducted the oceanic migrations of humanity that defined the modern world, she is the last such ship left that is original in material, pure in form, and still able to go to sea. Even as you read this, our museum is working as part of an international effort to see Star of India inscribed, along with other great historic ships, by UNESCO as a multi-national world heritage site. Like the Parthenon, the Pyramids, and the Great Wall of China, such a distinction would validate the generations of our community who have believed in her, loved her, and worked to see that she lives forever.

I write to you today with an opportunity and a request to become part of that eternal legacy. Several years ago, we raised funds to coat the underwater exterior of Star of India’s hull with an epoxy/ceramic material that has proven extremely successful in stopping outer surface corrosion of her 152-year-old wrought iron plates. Now we need to finish the job by eliminating the remaining corrosive threat to her indefinite lifespan – rust inside the ship caused by egress of rain from leaking decks.

Iron ships decay principally from the inside out as a result of saltwater that comes on board in heavy seas and leaks through the decks, causing salts to be absorbed into the somewhat porous structure of the iron plates. Having circled the earth and prevailed against Cape Horn twenty-one times, Star of India shipped a lot of heavy seas. Even though no seas have boarded her for almost a century now, the salts still remain within the iron and are activated every time rainwater leaks through the decks, which in their present condition is happening a lot even in our dry climate. Her decks are now at the end of their life and we can no longer sustain their integrity through caulking – they need to be replaced.

Fortunately, Star of India was recently awarded a $192,000 National Parks Service Maritime Heritage Grant, one of very few such awards and a testimony to both her historical significance and to the viability of the project for extending her life. However, these funds are available to Star of India only if they are matched by an equal amount contributed by those who love her and want to see her sail for generations to come.

So please join me in helping to ensure that a century or centuries from now, Star of India will continue to inspire wonder, devotion, and appreciation for all the generations that kept her sailing.

Best wishes,
Ray Ashley, PhD

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To learn more about the many opportunities to contribute to the Maritime Museum. Contact Development at 619-234-9153 x 141
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Planned Giving

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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.

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

Maritime Museum membership benifits

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.

Ticket Donations

The Maritime Museum of San Diego takes pride in our support of local (San Diego County) nonprofit organizations for fundraising events benefiting our community.

Since the Maritime Museum of San Diego is a nonprofit organization, we have established the following ticket donation guidelines:

  • Your organization must be a nonprofit and must be using Maritime Museum of San Diego tickets as a fundraising item.
  • Four general admission tickets are provided per conforming organization and/or event.
  • Requests of donation are limited to (1) one request per year per organization.
  • Donated admission tickets are limited to the value of General Admission only and are not valid use for special events, exhibit surcharges, or any event deemed exempt by the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
  • No cash value is applicable for donated tickets although they are fully transferable.
  • Value of donations are subject to change at the sole discretion of the Maritime Museum of San Diego.
  • The Maritime Museum of San Diego requests that any organization that accepts any donated items place a reciprocal acknowledgment within any marketing materials or programs that support the representative organization and/or the event.
  • You must be located within San Diego County.

CLICK HERE for online application requesting a donation

If Snail Mail, send your request for donations to:
Maritime Museum of San Diego
Attn: Request for Donations
1492 North Harbor Drive
San Diego, CA 92101
All donation requests will be reviewed within two weeks.

Looking for a venue to host your future fundraising event? Maritime Museum of San Diego offers exceptional nonprofit rates for event rentals. For more information, visit Event Venue Rentals.

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.