p r e s e r v e . o l y m p i a

the ship

In history on September 23, 2011 at 2:16 pm

The USS Olympia was launched in 1895, intended as the flagship of the American Asiatic Squadron. Three years later she was catapulted into public awareness when Commodore George Dewey defeated the Spanish squadron guarding the Philippine islands. Advancing technology and mass media spread news of the surprising American victory around the world in just a few days. In the heady days of ‘civilized’ imperial expansion, America had gained its first overseas colony. Dewey was instantly promoted to the rank of admiral.


the situation

In risks on September 23, 2011 at 2:15 pm

The Independence Seaport Museum in Philadelphia is the current custodian of the Olympia.

Due to a shift in the museum’s mission and the continued expense of maintaining the vessel, in 2010, The Independence Seaport Museum (ISM) announced that it was seeking a transfer of ownership of the Olympia to a qualified non-profit organization. Since assuming stewardship of the ship in 2000, ISM has spent $5.5 million on preservation and operating the ship as a floating museum. While the publicly accessible areas of the ship appear to be in good order and adequate monitoring systems have been installed, less accessible areas show signs of considerable damage and wear.

the solution

In preservation on September 23, 2011 at 2:14 pm

The most immediate need of the USS Olympia is funding.

Preservationists, historians and others interested in the survival of the Olympia should be aware that when Congress authorized the US Navy to release the Olympia to an outside organization for preservation in 1957, it stipulated that preservation should be done at no cost to the government. Consequently, without further Congressional action to reverse that decision, the Olympia will not receive federal funding. With the current funding model, private, corporate and municipal donations must be used to pay for the ship’s stabilization, restoration and operation.