Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Retired Swiss army officer Fred Alder, 92, is among those lining up in the morning to visit the Iowa on its first day as a floating museum.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Trish Place, left, and Robert Kent welcome Phil Vicario, the first person to get on the Iowa on Saturday.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

People lined up early in the morning to visit the Iowa.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

The line of people visiting the Iowa snakes around the massive gun deck of the retired battleship.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Visitors train their cameras on the guns of the Iowa.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

Visitors to the Iowa are surrounded by red, white and blue.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

The crowd swarms over the battleship Iowa on its opening day as a floating museum.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

The USS Iowa was docked at the Port of Richmond before being towed to a permanent home in the Port of Los Angeles, where it will be an interactive museum that's set to open on Saturday.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

A fresh coat of paint glistens on one of the huge artillery guns at the bow end of the USS Iowa. In the battleship's heyday, the guns were capable of firing a 16-inch-diameter projectile a distance of more than 20 miles.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

A portion of the 70-year-old Burmese teak decking on the USS Iowa, which was refurbished. The entire main deck was once covered with thousands of board feet of the 2-inch-thick planks to protect the steel under it from heat and corrosion.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Christopher Edwards, a volunteer docent, stands in the "combat engagement center" on the battleship USS Iowa. This room is where naval officers would command the firing of the ship's weaponry.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

The 79-year-old battleship Iowa arrives off the Southern California coast after a four-day tow from the San Francisco Bay.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

A WWII-era PT boat floats near the battleship Iowa a couple of miles outside the Port of Los Angeles after the Iowa's arrival from the San Francisco Bay.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

Veterans who served on the USS Iowa and volunteers helping with the restoration prepare a 16-inch round for loading on the old battleship at the Port of Richmond. This round is inert and will be used for display. During its wartime duty, the Iowa's big guns could fire high explosive rounds like this more than 20 miles.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

The USS Iowa moves into its permanent home at Berth 87 in the Los Angeles Harbor.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times

A member of the battleship USS Iowa staff passes by the 16-inch gun Turret 3 at the Port of Los Angeles in San Pedro.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles TImes

Diners enjoy their lunch at the Fantail Cafe on the USS Midway in the San Diego Harbor. An aircraft carrier, USS Midway started off slowly as a tourist attraction in San Diego but now sees over 1 million visitors per year.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Visitors to the USS Midway are greeted on the gangway with a giant salute.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

The SBD Dauntless, a World War ll dive bomber, is one of the 25 restored aircraft aboard the carrier USS Midway.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

A pedicab cruises in front of the USS Midway at the San Diego Harbor.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Ethan Peterson, 4, of Rockland, Calif., climbs out of the cockpit of a restored T-2 Buckeye Pilot trainer on the flight deck of the aircraft carrier USS Midway.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Several active duty sailors walk past the F8 Crusader on the flight deck of the USS Midway.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

Realistic signs and details on the aircraft carrier USS Midway add to the tourist experience. The San Diego attraction sees more than 1 million visitors per year.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

The World War ll-era SNJ Texan is one of 25 restored aircraft aboard the USS Midway.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

One of the sailors featured in a statue garden next to the USS Midway was created by artists Eugene Daub and Steven Whyte, in a display called "National Salute to Bob Hope and the Military."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

The park next to the USS Midway is an ideal location for an afternoon picnic.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times

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Floating museums: The USS Iowa and USS Midway

When the battleship Iowa was commissioned in 1943, it was a powerful weapon in yet another war to end all wars.

Now its huge guns are pointed at a string of seafood restaurants in San Pedro, and it’s about to join America’s fleet of floating museums — some 48 warships that have been donated to coastal communities eager for tourist dollars and upgraded waterfronts.

Although some of the attractions have thrived, others have been swamped in debt or racked by age.

In San Diego, the aircraft carrier Midway has topped 1-million visitors per year. Another carrier, the Intrepid, is a must-see museum in Manhattan, especially with the recent arrival of the space shuttle Enterprise.

But near Houston, the century-old battleship Texas closed indefinitely last week after holes opened up in its corroded hull and it started taking on more than 1,500 gallons of water a minute. In Alameda, the aircraft carrier Hornet is getting by. But it was nearly shut down a few years ago when officials couldn’t cover the rent and electric bills. In Camden, N.J., the battleship New Jersey now has five full-time employees — down from a peak of 50.

The difference comes down to a real estate adage: “Location, location, location,” said Robert Kent, director of the Pacific Battleship Center, which will operate Los Angeles’ newest museum.

Read story: Warship museums are not assured victory as tourist draws

Related:
 

Battleship Iowa 360° tour

Video: Aircraft carrier Midway

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