U.S.S. Cruiser Olympia Commemorative Coin Act Introduced
Named the U.S.S. Cruiser Olympia Commemorative Coin Act and numbered H.R. 3180, the introduced legislation would authorize the United States Mint to strike up to 500,000 $1 silver coins in collector proof and uncirculated qualities.
“The Cruiser Olympia is an iconic and national historic treasure,” describes a statement by Congressman Brady. “It is the world’s only ship museum from the early 20th century beginnings of the United States as a world power.”
Launched in 1892, the vessel is the world’s oldest steel war ship afloat. She is also the only surviving United States naval ship of the Spanish-American war and revived American Steel Navy, according to the Act.
Commemorative Coin Designs and Specifications
H.R. 3180, as is standard in legislation for modern commemorative coins composed of silver, dictates a coin denomination of $1 with diameter of 1.5 inches and a weight of 26.73 grams. Each commemorative would have a composition of 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper.
H.R. 3180 does not outline specific designs for the coins, stating only that they “shall be emblematic of the courage, pride, sacrifice, sense of duty, and history” of the ship.
Required inscriptions include the coin’s value, ’2016′, ‘Liberty’, ‘In God We Trust’, ‘United States of America’, and ‘E Pluribus Unum’.
Commemorative designs created by the United States Mint would be reviewed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee and then selected by the Treasury Secretary after consultation with the Friends of the Cruiser Olympia and the Commission of Fine Arts.
The Friends of the Cruiser Olympia is a non-profit whose stated mission is to restore, preserve and educate the public on the Cruiser Olympia in Philadelphia as a national heritage site.
$10 Surcharges and Status of Act
Every commemorative coin produced by the United States Mint includes surcharges, as mandated in the authorizing legislation.
H.R. 3180 calls for collected surcharges to go to the “Friends of the Cruiser Olympia for the purpose of restoring and preserving the U.S.S. Cruiser Olympia.”
The U.S.S. Cruiser Olympia Commemorative Coin Act currently has 14 cosponsors and stands before the House Committee on Financial Services. In order for H.R. 3180 to become law, it must pass in the Senate, the House and then get signed by the President.
1 September 2011- Phase One Executive Summary Filed
6 October 2011 From the Independence Seaport Museum
Phase I Reviews in Process
Extention of Phase II Submission Date
The members of the Cruiser Olympia Transfer Application Review Panel have received your Phase I application. The Review Panel is currently reviewing submissions. Our goal is to review all submissions by the end of October and offer applicants critiques that will be valuable to you when putting together your Phase II applications.
The Review Panel consists of members of the Executive Committee of the Council on American Maritime Museums, professionals with the Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission (PA’s SHPO), representatives from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, department heads, executives and Board members of Independence Seaport Museum, as well as experienced Naval Sea Systems Command staff members who are acting in an advisory role.
Due to the Review Panel’s various schedules and commitments it was impossible to offer detailed feedback by the proposed deadline of October 1st. We will complete and send you the review of your application by November 1st. To compensate for the delay in our Phase I response the Phase II application deadline will be extended to May 1st 2012.
We encourage you to send any questions or concerns about your Phase II application to email@example.com.
Thank your for your continued interest and your efforts to preserve the Olympia; a unique American icon and national treasure.
The Olympia Transfer Review Panel has decided to simplify
the Olympia Collections Transfer Application (OCTA) and change the process originally described in the TAPP.
The Panel determined that all questions pertinent to the transfer of the Olympia Collections are already presented in the Curatorial/Museum Plan section of the TAPP. If a transfer candidate indicates interest in acquiring the Olympia related Collection, they must show this interest in their Phase II and Phase III submissions. Specifically, note your interest in the Curatorial/Museum Plan in Phase II of the TAPP, due May 1, 2012; and in the Collections Management Plan in Phase III of the TAPP on November 1, 2012. The Transfer Review Panel will accept these applications for transfer of the Olympia Collections.
Remember to use the following documents as a resource when answering the questions in the Curatorial/Museum Plan and Collections Management Plan:
Take special note to the distinctions between and differing needs and requirements of the three parts of the Olympia Collections: Olympia Core Collection, Research Archive and the Naval Shrine Collection. Also, pay particular attention to the differing needs in the care and maintenance of artifact/object collections and of archival collections.
Phase I Applications Recieved from the Following Candidates
Cruiser Olympia Historical Society, Philadelphia, PA
Friends of the Cruiser Olympia, Philadelphia, PA
Heritage US, Washington DC
Navy Yard Association (NYA) of Mare Island, Vallejo, CA
Save USS Olympia, Inc. Baltimore, MD
South Carolina Olympia Committee, Beaufort, SC
Friends host reception & dinner at the Capitol
The Friends of the Cruiser Olympia hosted a dinner on Thursday night, June 23, 2011, in the historic Mike Mansfield Room of the U.S. Capitol to raise awareness of their efforts to save, restore and preserve the Cruiser Olympia from destruction by neglect. The purpose of the dinner was to educate the distinguished guests on the history of the Cruiser Olympia and the activities of the organization, whose mission is to preserve and interpret. Those attending included representatives of the US Navy, DoD, Navy League, Naval Historical Foundation, US Naval Academy Alumni Association, Key Congressional staff from the House and Senate Armed Services Committees and the Pennsylvania Congressional Delegation, the U.S. defense industry, and the international community. Messages of support commending the Friends for their preservation activities were read from Rep.Todd Akin(R-Mo) Chairman of the House Seapower Subcommittee and Rep.Robert Brady (D-PA), who represents Penn’s Landing, (Philadelphia) PA where the Cruiser is berthed.
Jay Richman, President of the Friends of the Cruiser Olympia, commended the attendees for their support and interest and indicated that the organization …”has embarked on a major Capital Campaign designed to restore, preserve and create a ship museum dedicated to America’s history and greatness.” Bruce Harris, Executive Director of the group, indicated that they have begun with this dinner a major outreach program in the Congress, government and defense community which will see numerous projects in 2011-2012 to reach our goals.” Our 1921 Project will be unveiled shortly,” Bruce said, …”will enhance the historic linkages we have undertaken to highlight the Cruiser’s contribution to our nation.”
Commissioned in 1895, the cruiser Olympia(C 6) is a National Historic Landmark representing the era of America’s emergence as a global power. She served as the flagship of the Asiatic Squadron in the Spanish-American War. It was from the Olympia’s bridge on May 1, 1898 during the Battle of Manila Bay in the Philippines that Commodore George Dewey issued the famous command: “You may fire when you are ready, Gridley.” The Spanish fleet was destroyed, while the American fleet – led by the Olympia — was minimally damaged.
The Olympia was later active in the Atlantic, Caribbean and Mediterranean, and served as a Naval Academy training vessel. Her final mission was bringing home the body of the Unknown Soldier from France in 1921.
The ship’s hull is covered with hundreds of patches, and inspectors have concluded that the ship could decay to a point beyond saving within a few years if nothing is done. The current custodian of the ship, the Independence Seaport Museum, does not have the funds necessary to dredge the marina, tow the ship to dry-dock and restore it. Without major refurbishment, and a plan for its future use and preservation, the Olympia will either sink at its moorings on the Delaware River, be sold for scrap, or be scuttled for an artificial reef just off Cape May, New Jersey.
The Friends of the Cruiser Olympia, Inc., is an IRS Code Section 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation whose donations are tax deductible. Our sole mission is to restore, preserve and educate the US public about the Cruiser Olympia as a national heritage site in Philadelphia. We seek to preserve Olympia’s structure, history, heritage, and tradition as a national treasure.
News Update: Friends Board Members meet with Congressman April 20
On Wednesday April 20, 2011, Board Chairman Bruce Harris and Board Member Todd Ridall met with Congressman Jim Gerlach of Pa. regarding the future of the Cruiser Olympia. We want to thank the Congressman for his support and for helping us in our efforts to keep OLYMPIA in Philadelphia. We will have more details on this meeting in the future.
One item of note – the congressman confirmed what we have heard via the press and other outlets: that Congress has agreed that there will be no “earmarks” for spending in this session (What this confirms is that there is no government money that would be made available for OLYMPIA or other projects. Since the Friends’ is committed to only using private funds, this lack of government funds will not affect our efforts. Other competing groups that are seeking custody of the Cruiser Olympia may be affected.).
Update on the Olympia Summit - 1 April 2011
The Friends of the Cruiser Olympia were represented at the Olympia Summit held at the Independence Seaport Museum from Wednesday, 30 March to Friday, 1 April 2011. The Summit was a presentation by the ISM to ”Transfer Candidates” (i.e., organizations that are interested and qualified to take OLYMPIA and her museum collection), and featured speakers such as: Craig Bruns, Charles C. Deroko, James P. Delgado (keynote speaker), Quentin T. Snediker, Jay Winter, B.F. Cooling (author the book USS Olympia: Herald of Empire), representatives from educational and cultural institutions, museums across the United States, representatives from NAVSEA PMS 333, US National Park Service, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and the Naval History and Heritage Command.
The impression was that the ISM wanted to:
- Present OLYMPIA as a ship worth saving. (We all knew this. Saving her is why we were there.)
- Provide details regarding the current condition of the ship and critical repairs.
- Present important issues in creating a museum. The successful candidate gets OLYMPIA. Her collection of flat paper, photographs, library materials, and artifacts (if they apply for it) will need a storage facility, staff, and museum.
On Wednesday afternoon the ISM presented a report on Olympia’s current condition, a list of tasks needed to preserve the ship, along with estimates. The highlights were:
- OLYMPIA will need dredging to free the ship from its current location, which will cost appx. $1.2 million dollars
- The ship needs hull repairs (several types of repairs were discussed, with varied costs), will need to be done in a dry dock facility
- To repair OLYMPIA to a nominal level of safety and preservation would cost approximately $12 to 14 million dollars
- While there have been numerous repairs to the ship, more will be needed over the coming months, before OLYMPIA is transferred to new owners.
The Friends of the Cruiser Olympia were happy to see interest in the Summit from the local press; including WHYY Radio News and WPVI Channel 6 News (look for the report on the WPVI’s web site). Of interest, the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News didn’t seem to think the event was worth notice.
Further Observations……5 April 2011
As the Summit unfolded, five transfer candidates were identified by the ISM. The Friends of the Cruiser Olympia were the only local group in attendance. The remainder were from cities across the USA. Most groups did not meet the qualifications set by the ISM to attend. They were not bona fide 501(c)3 non-profits capable of soliciting funds on behalf of OLYMPIA’s preservation. Many lacked a solid understanding of what is required by NAVSEA /PMS333, Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, and the US National Park Service.
While the main events were scheduled over two days, an optional third day was planned for transfer candidates to gain further insight into the material condition of the ship and to learn about the collection of OLYMPIA artifacts and materials on loan or owned by the museum. Several of the out of town groups opted for the “behind the scenes” below deck (non public) tour. Only the Friends of the Cruiser Olympia went to meet with the ISM curator, archivist, and curator from Naval History & Heritage.
During a briefing session, one member of the Historic Naval Ships Association noted that he thought the time line for transfer was far too short. (Average time to compile a successful package is 5 years.) He predicted that the two year span allotted to complete the transfer package would almost guarantee failure. This revelation was a bit shocking. The “elephant in the room” was identified. The ISM moderator acted promptly to continue to move forward with other speakers and to revisit the topic later. It resurfaced later in a post lunch session, however, it didn’t go far. The cat was out of the bag. Negativity and the pragmatic came to surface.
Much of the focus was on explaining the condition of the ship and transfer process. During one of the Group brainstorming meetings, a former ISM curator noted that it would cost approximately $2 Mil to dredge the basin, tow, and prepare the ship for reefing offshore if a suitable new owner did not qualify. The question was asked of the ISM: ” If it will cost $2 Mil to destroy the ship, why not put the money into maintenance and preservation?” When pressed for a response, the ISM would not make a clear commitment as to how much they might spend to maintain the ship for the next few years while the transfer process unfolds. We believe that the ISM wants to to spend as little as possible on OLYMPIA. We predict they will continue to serve up reports, excuses, and platitudes while continuing to do nothing in the way of ongoing preservation. Communication and transparency isn’t their strong suit. Read the feature below for evidence.
Disappointment of refusal to accept funding for emergency repairs
The Friends were approached by OLYMPIA’s manager for assistance in funding emergency repairs at the waterline. We asked for and received a proposal detailing the work to be done, materials and supplies required, cost, suppliers, and time line. The Board of the Friends reviewed the proposal and approved it promptly. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was drafted and submitted for signature. We received a reply that our terms were quite reasonable. In his response, the ship’s manager balked at writing a weekly summary of two paragraphs and no more than six photos of work performed. To date the ISM has not signed the document and no funding has been provided for the work. We are not sure why the emergency request was made then rejected when material support was offered. As a Friends Group our objective is the continued preservation of OLYMPIA. We are always willing to respond to requests for assistance. What confuses us is why were we acknowledged “partnering on preservation efforts” in a letter from Captain Gazzola dated 17 January 2011. Sound confusing? Welcome to ISM world.
The Latest News on Competing Groups
You may have been following the events surrounding the future of the Cruiser Olympia, and many have been confused about news reports about the ship going to San Francisco, or about other groups who are trying to save the ship. In reality, we recognize that we are in a competition with these other groups to acquire the Olympia, and that while well-intentioned, these groups may not meet the NAVSEA requirements for taking the ship. Other groups may want to overhaul the ship but do not have plans for anything beyond that. We want it known that the Friends of the Cruiser Olympia have spent over 2 years trying to save this great ship, that we have raised significant funds, and have a 17.5 million dollar campaign underway for the future of the Olympia. We have formulated plans for the future home and museum facilities for this ship and its historic collection. We will be attending the Summit at the ISM on March 30 to April 1, and we will be making press announcements at that time. For more info, contact the Friends at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Friends apply to add Olympia to the 11 Most Endangered Historic Sites In America.
An application was filed with the National Trust For Historic Preservation on January 21, 2011 to add the Cruiser Olympia to the list of the 11 Most Endangered Historic Sites. A link to the short video submitted with the application has been posted on YouTube. It is also available on our “Dewey Films” page.
The Friends host the family of a former crew member.
The decks of OLYMPIA recently echoed with new, yet perhaps oddly familiar, footsteps when Eloise B. Myers and her daughter Joanna paid a visit to the ship.
Eloise is the daughter of Paul I. Burke, who was not only a crew member of the Olympia during WWI, but also was on board when the Olympia bore the body of the Unknown Soldier from France into the Washington, D.C, navy yard in 1922. Eloise remembers her father telling her the story of that solemn journey, naming himself and his comrades as the honor guard for the fallen hero who represented all the fallen heroes lost in foreign lands.
Eloise was with her father during WWII, when he was stationed at Pearl Harbor and present for the devastation of Dec. 7, 1941. Promoted to an officer during the war, Eloise’s father was recalled to serve in the Korean War was well, reinstated to his rank of Chief Petty Officer and carrying on his fine military career.
Although Eloise’s parents visited the Olympia in Philadelphia during the 1950s, she herself was not along for the trip. And despite listening avidly to her father’s stories through the years, time and distance did not afford her an opportunity to go aboard the ship she had heard so much about and felt such an affinity with for her entire life.
Until Nov. 13, 2010, when The Friends of the Cruiser Olympia welcomed Eloise and Joanna to the city of Philadelphia and to the mysteries of the ship that had played so prominent a role in their family’s history.
Eloise, who has lived with cancer for more than a decade had decided that she needed to see the ship “before she or it was no longer around.” Enlisting her daughter Joanna to make the trip with her, Eloise landed in the capable hands of President of Friends of the Cruiser Olympia, Captain Jay Richman, who was delighted to meet the daughter and granddaughter of a crew member and escort them on their tour of a piece of United States history that runs through their veins.
Friends of the Cruiser Olympia would like to acknowledge the generous donation they have received from Linearizer Technology, Inc., (LTI) Hamilton, N.J., in memory of Mr. Thomas J. Kirk. Mr. Kirk passed away on Oct. 18, 2010.
A Navy veteran who was possessed of continuous interest in; and extensive, ever-increasing knowledge of; maritime history, Mr. Kirk was a tremendous proponent of the Olympia and her restoration. His fascination with the storied ship inspired his friends and colleagues at Linearizer Technology to honor his memory with a $500 donation toward the future of the Cruiser Olympia alongside Philadelphia’s river docks.
President Captain Jay Richman as well as the entire team at the Friends, are proud to honor Mr. Kirk and his hopes for the future of OLYMPIA.
The Friends of the Cruiser Olympia have received official recognition by the IRS as a Public Charity under section 501 (c) 3 retroactive to 1 June 2010. Any money that has been donated on or after this date is fully deductible under federal tax code.
Establishing comms with NAVSEA
The Friends have made contact with head of PMS333 and now have established a working relationship toward ownership of OLYMPIA. We are proceeding with completing the reams of required paperwork to satisfy transfer.
National Maritime Heritage Conference, Baltimore
Bruce Harris, Executive Director participated on a panel at this year’s conference addressing “What Happens to OLYMPIA After Restoration”. Other participants were Charles Deroko, CAPT Chris Pietras, USN (NavSea), Jesse Lebovics (ISM), Kevin Foster (National Park Service), Frank Cooling (Defense Industrial University), Scott Doyle (PA State Preservation Office).
Harris focused on knowing your industry, which is tourism, creating a proper self sustaining business plan, and working as hard as you can on creating active and lively programming and exhibits.
The event was very well attended, especially the Q&A session which spilled out into the lobby and went well into overtime due to overwhelming interest.
The Olympia in the press
An Associated Press article by correspondent JoAnn Loviglio about OLYMPIA hit the world by storm on September 6. The article caused a flood of email and contributions to our group and we want to gratefully acknowledge all of our new supporters.
Read the article on our PRESS page.
Office established!Friends of the Cruiser Olympia 2 Penn Center Plaza Suite 200 Philadelphia, PA 19102 (215) 854-6309
All mail, packages, donations, etc. can be safely sent to this location.
Parallel website now up and functional
Our traditional website located at http://CruiserOlympia.org/ is fully functional with all pages posted. Content is identical to this site, but in a different format. This site is much easier for our officers to use for posting of information without special editing software. One new page was added that may be of interest: “Vintage Photo Album”. There are some interesting images of OLYMPIA at her christening, in the yard fitting out, and directly after she returned from Asiatic Squadron duty in 1899.
More will be added from our extensive photo archive each week.
Executive Director met with Independence Seaport Museum’s new President
Bruce Harris, our Executive Director, met with John Gazzola, President of the Independence Seaport Museum to discuss working directly with the ISM to open a dialogue toward a solution to the Olympia’s fate. The meeting was the first in a series aimed at building a co-operative relationship to explore possible means of saving the ship and keeping her in Philadelphia. Captain Gazzola was positive and most accommodating. We feel encouraged.
Many of you have become friends of the Friends of the Cruiser Olympia. You may have noticed that the group’s name has changed. We want you to come back to our official group. Friends of the Cruiser Olympia. To come back or to join our group just click on the link below.
Much of what we are doing is ” nuts and bolts” type of stuff that must be done in order to apply for grants and speak to potential donors and benefactors. We want you to be aware that we have been working on budgets, financial projections, estimates, technical issues, proposals, and outreach to legislators and other cultural institutions where we have shared interests and concerns.
Just because you haven’t seen or heard much from us recently doesn’t mean that we haven’t been at work. It’s not particularly glamorous stuff, but we are doing everything possible to show our seriousness and focus on the goal of preserving OLYMPIA. Please stay with us and “don’t give up the ship”!