Exceeding All Expectations.
As the USS Midway Museum enters its 13th year of operation, the accomplishments of its unique crew of volunteers, employees, supporters, donors, partners and members have far surpassed the vision of those who worked for 12 years to bring the ex-USS Midway to San Diego in 2004.
Today, Midway welcomes more than 1.3 million visitors annually as the most-visited naval ship museum in the world. Midway is the 9th most popular museum of any type in the U.S. and 22nd most popular in the world. All this has been accomplished as the museum experience has been expanded. Midway has grown from a handful of aircraft on display in 2004 to more than two dozen restored aircraft in 2016. The self-guided audio tour is now available in six languages and nearly 20 percent of Midway’s guests are from abroad.
More than 700 events are held each year and more than half of those events are daytime, active-duty Navy ceremonies (re-enlistments, retirements, changes of command, memorials and dignitary visits). Each event becomes a “living history” exhibit for our museum guests who often watch from the sidelines.
The dedication of the Midway crew also has enabled Midway to become a community resource. San Diego has been showcased to the nation via television programs filmed on Midway, including Fox NFL Football, The Bachelor, Extreme Makeover, Antiques Roadshow, Wheel of Fortune, FOX Network News, Hero Ships, and others. Still more recognition came when Midway became the first museum in the nation to receive the Preserve America Presidential Award in a Rose Garden ceremony.
Midway’s Development efforts have focused on various projects to enhance the guest experience aboard the museum over the years, headlined by its fundraising for scholarships for STEM education programs. Through Midway’s “No Child Left Ashore” program, tens of thousands of students from financially challenged school districts in Southern California are welcomed aboard the unique learning laboratory annually to study gravity, weather and other subjects in a real-world setting.
In addition, the museum is in the process of establishing the Midway Foundation, a separate non-profit organization to further the mission and vision of the museum by supporting military and veterans’ services organizations.
With the generous support of Southwest Airlines, Midway recently completed a build out of onboard compartments to accommodate 30 state-of-the-art flight simulators. The Southwest Airlines Flight Academy Lab is used in Midway’s onboard education and overnight programs, Midway’s Flying Midshipmen FAA Ground School for Naval Sea Cadets, community outreach and in scouting merit badge programs.
The success of the USS Midway Museum has been driven by San Diego support, including 800 volunteers donating 250,000 hours annually. It truly has set a course of “onward and upward”.