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Intrepid Museum Foundation, Inc.

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Education, Elementary & Secondary Schools, History Museums, Literacy, Museums, Science & Technology Museums

Mission: The mission of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum is to honor our heroes, educate the public and inspire our youth. As an educational and cultural not-for-profit institution centered on the retired World War II aircraft carrier, the USS Intrepid, the Museum is dedicated to promoting the awareness and understanding of history, science and service through its collections, exhibitions and programming. Docked on the Hudson River in New York City, the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum was founded in 1982 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1986. This iconic museum has drawn over 12 million visitors since first opening and welcomes almost one million visitors annually. Built in 1943, the USS Intrepid and her crew have a distinguished history of service in times of war and in times of peace, including tours of duty in both World War II and Vietnam, and as a NASA prime recovery vessel, retiring in 1974. The Museum's historical value was recognized by NASA in April 2011, when the Intrepid was named as the new home for Enterprise (OV-101), the first Space Shuttle, to help perpetuate the legacy of one of our country's greatest technological achievements and the legacy of all the men and women who served in the NASA program.

Programs: The Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum offers one-of-a-kind educational experiences to the general public and students. Driven by its mission to honor, educate and inspire, this unique Museum complex is dedicated to promoting the awareness and understanding of history, science and service through its collections, exhibitions and programming. The Intrepid's mission is realized in three ways: 1) through collections, exhibitions, and interpretations of history; 2) through the Museum's innovative science, history and leadership education programs for students; and 3) by the integral role the Intrepid plays in the local and national community, hosting a wide range of public events for youth, families, senior citizens, veterans and the men and women in service to our nation. Exhibits and Collections: As visitors explore the Museum complex and its exhibits, they can examine original artifacts from the Museum's collection, view historic video footage, and explore state-of-the-art interactive exhibits. Visitors learn about American history in the context of global events including World War II, the Cold War, and the NASA recovery missions in which Intrepid played a part, and the social trends and circumstances that impacted the more than 3,000 crew members who lived onboard this "city at sea" at any one time. Visitors also learn about the marine environment and the science of flight through interactive exhibitions and by exploring the Museum Complex which consists of a publically accessible pier, the 900-foot long Intrepid, a collection of 30 restored aircraft, including two of the world's fastest airplanes (the Lockheed A-12 Spy Plane and British Airways Concorde), the USS Growler nuclear missile submarine, and a replica of the Gemini space capsule. The Museum especially is dedicated to presenting the "humanity behind the hardware" of those who served onboard the Intrepid during its thirty years of service, from ace pilots and command officers to those of average seamen who were armorers, mechanics, medics, cooks, and laborers, all of whom made the Intrepid the National Historic Landmark it is today. Education: The Museum welcomes close to 180,000 children annually. Almost 28,000 public school students participate in science and history educational programs each year. Close to 14,000 of these students are from undeserved communities and attend Museum programs at no-cost. The Intrepid has delivered high quality educational programming to tens of thousands of students and teachers for almost 30 years. In 2004, the staff and trustees reaffirmed the Museum's focus on education by creating the Michael Tyler Fisher Center for Education, an 18,000 sq. ft. educational facility at the Museum dedicated to student workshops and teacher training. Museum education programs are structured to parallel New York State and national curriculum standards in the areas of science, social studies, math, English, and language arts, and there is a special focus on the STEM curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Students are encouraged to observe, discover, hypothesize, and engage in hands-on experiences. The Museum's 13,000-foot Exploreum, with its 18 interactive displays emphasizes the Museum's four interpretive themes of water, air, space, and life at sea, adding to students' adventure and fun. Programs are designed to impact K-12th grade students from Title I eligible schools, which are populations considered low-income or underserved. Educators combine science and history instruction with mentorship, bringing programs to diverse audiences including students confined to hospitals and living in homeless shelters as well as students who participate in on-ship school year programs and intensive summer camp programs, such as our annual STEM focused camp G.O.A.L.S. for Girls (Greater Opportunities for Advancing Science and Leadership). The Museum's Access Initiative offers programs for visitors and students affected by physical (blind, low vision, deaf, hard of hearing, mobility) disabilities, and developmental and emotional disabilities, including autism. The Museum’s Access Initiative also provides free programs for Veterans with physical, emotional or cognitive challenges and for Military Families affected by developmental disabilities such as autism. The Museum relies on public and private grants and donations to support these no-fee initiatives. Events and Activities that Honor Our Heroes: The Intrepid Museum serves as a leading platform for raising awareness of the role of service in our communities and in the military in American society. As a primary destination for important national celebrations and commemorations, the Museum supports the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, Veterans, and those who serve our communities. Important annual events at the Museum include Fleet Week, Memorial Day, July 4th, and Veterans Day. In addition, the Museum's Summer Salute to Heroes honors fire fighters, police officers and other first responders. The Museum also serves as a meeting place for veterans and veterans groups, and for diverse local, national and international visitors and groups. Curatorial and education personnel also present exhibitions and programs centered on important historical anniversaries, including the 100 year celebration of naval aviation, the 150th anniversary of the Medal of Honor and the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812. The Museum develops programming around Black History Month, Women's History Month and Disability Awareness Month. As a non-profit institution, we put people at the heart of our museum and support the idea that Museums are at the heart of our communities. The Museum is dedicated to educating and inspiring future generations to learn about American and global history from diverse perspectives so that they can be informed citizens. Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher, who founded the Intrepid Museum in 1982, also founded a family of foundations, each of which is dedicated to serving either veterans or active military service people. The Museum acts as a mother ship for these sister foundations that provide crucial support for the men and women of the U.S. Armed forces and for veterans and their families. This family of foundations includes the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, the Fisher House and the Intrepid Relief Fund. The Intrepid Museum Foundation is at the center of this family of foundations, serving as a central iconic symbol that raises public awareness for veteran's causes and issues, and provides institutional support for the work of the sister foundations, particularly the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund and the Intrepid Relief Fund. -->

Community Stories

6 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Rating: 5

Intrepid steps up to the educational challenge!
When I joined the Intrepid Museum as a volunteer, I expected to meet a lot of visitors with a service connection. And it is an honor to welcome home Intrepid crew members, meet veterans with other experiences, and thank the men and women on active duty today.

My biggest surprise has been discovering the quantity and quality of Intrepid educational programs. It is a secret too well kept from the public.

These programs are diverse, but they all emphasize STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. This curriculum, so vital to our children, is often an easy victim to budget crunch. Intrepid is stepping up to the challenge as others turn away.

The Intrepid educational staff is distinct from the tour guides and volunteers that visitors meet. Most are professional teachers. They are amazing. When they explain to children how airplanes fly and why ships do not sink, I take notes.

Intrepid partners with teachers, scout leaders, and organizations on multi-session programs. Other events bring together children from communities of limited opportunity. Without Intrepid, they might never meet and share experiences with people outside their world. The Access Initiative reaches students with disabilities. There is Camp Intrepid, and G.O.A.L.S. (Greater Opportunities for Advancing Leadership and Science). The list goes on.

CASA (Cultural After School Adventures) is an arts enrichment program sponsored by the New York City Council. Over an eight-week period, Intrepid educators visit the classroom and students visit the ship. Their goal is to create a “ship’s newspaper”, with each student writing an article about what they have learned. As a former Navy Journalist, I talk about our ship newspaper and life at sea. My biggest learned lesson: keep my talk short, because the students have a treasure of questions that speak to their imagination and curiosity.

Every spring, Intrepid works with Community Mayors, an organization of civic leaders, to host several hundred children with disabilities. Intrepid staff helps the children learn to steer the ship, climb into a sailor’s bunk, and feel the sway of a lifeboat adrift at sea. We “chow down” on the Mess Deck. Their words may be hesistant, but the smiles say it all.

A museum teaches the past so that we might build a better future. The Intrepid is helping prepare young visitors for that journey. It makes me proud to be on board.


Rating: 5

My father, J.J. Elefant, was an original crew member of the USS Intrepid - a "plank owner". He came aboard a week prior to her commissioning on August 16, 1943 and remained with the ship for the remainder of WWII. Dad kept a detaiIed daily journal during those two years, which he shared with me when I grew up. I donated Dad's journal to the Intrepid Museum for three main reasons: 1) because I believe the museum has a sincere interest in its contents, 2) they have a unique capacity to put the information it contains to good use, and 3) because, over time, I believe the museum will give Dad's diary a good home.

This is my personal connection to the Intrepid Museum. Through my father I have always had a keen interest in the Intrepid, the Pacific war, and all things related to aircraft carriers, ships and planes. Ironically, while he chronicled events, he rarely talked about his life aboard the ship unless pressed. My dad was a loving father but wasn't a particularly talkative man; particularly when it came to talking about the war. For him, it wasn't that important to talk, but it was important to remember. Because I felt so proud of his service, I wanted to hear more. Dad's reply was that he didn't think anyone would be interested in hearing the tales. He figured war stories were a dime-a-dozen and he didn't want to be a bore.

Dad was wrong. People do want to hear and learn. There is a huge interest in aircraft carriers, naval aviation, the ships and the planes. And of course, the people who served and sacrificed. When it comes to aircraft carriers, Intrepid is the only game in town!

Stepping aboard Intrepid is like entering a time portal. The ship has a presence. She beckons. Let your imagination flow and it's 1944. A dark February night. A little too quiet. Suddenly, the ship shudders as a Japanese torpedo slams into her stern. Klaxons blare as the crew run to their battle stations....

Standing high up on the Captain's bridge, you look out on an international array of aircraft displayed on the flight deck. I can watch as jet engines scream and catapults launch. Gazing aft, one can almost see returning planes, low on fuel, lined up to land, tail hooks anxious to catch an arresting cable. Look again and it's 1962 as Intrepid helicopters lift off to recover NASA astronauts.

Intrepid is a living piece of history - a meticulously preserved Essex class aircraft carrier. Unlike brick and mortar museums that merely display artifacts, the ship itself is the main artifact. And parked across the same pier is a real, cold war era, missile firing submarine. The airplanes are all real too. I can tell you that the staff of guides, restorationists and volunteers are passionate in their desire to share Intrepid's story. The museum also features science and the exploration of space. When you visit, don't be surprised to find yourself meeting former crew members and aviators who truly enjoy telling their stories and describing their experiences. Though not myself a veteran, I am now an Intrepid volunteer as well.

And as for Dad's diary, I think he would be pleased to know that the museum begins each day with a memo to staff, which draws from his journal, entitled "This Day On Intrepid".

Review from CharityNavigator

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I am the Commander of the American Legion 9-11 Memorial Post 2001. We were formerly the Downtown Athletic Club Post. After our country was attacked, we no longer had a home. We were nomads whose instability caused our membership to dwindle. The Intrepid Museum Foundation realized our plight and jumped in. They gave us a permanent home and have treated us like family. For the last several years we have been the fastest growing American Legion Post in New York City due to the Intrepid's help.
Our mission is to help our Nation's Veterans. With all the help we have received from the Intrepid, we have been able to do more for our Veterans than we ever thought possible.
The Intrepid Museum Foundation's dedication to our Veterans is beyond belief. The programs run by the Intrepid have helped many Veterans increase their quality of life. The Center for the Intrepid and the National Intrepid Center of Excellence are just two examples of this commitment.
I have also seen the Intrepid personnel work behind the scenes to make sure that any and every accommodation possible has been afforded our Veterans, all done without fanfare. Every time the Intrepid has been asked to help, they have done so with enthusiasm.
My expertise is with Veterans' affairs, but I have also been exposed to the many great works that the Intrepid Museum Foundation has done for the community.
From helping the displaced to educating our youth, from caring for the individual Veteran to operating the Center of Excellence, the Intrepid Museum Foundation does it all.


Rating: 5

My name is Paul A. Ramirez and I am a New York City Public Middle School Social Studies teacher. In 2008, I first became involved with the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum and its program to educate and enlighten my students at my school (Young Scholars Academy in the Bronx) though the C.A.S.A. program. The after school work shop administered by Intrepid has brought knowledge, awareness and enjoyment to dozens of my students over these past years. These work shops have served to supplement the basic NYS Science and History curricula and opened the horizons of the students to the basic aerodynamic principles and the proud story of our nation's contribution and sacrifice during World War II.
On one of these trips, I noticed a leaflet that described the Volunteer Program at Intrepid. As the son and nephew of WWII veterans and the little brother of two Vietnam veterans, I became drawn to the idea that I could offer my passion for History to an audience extending well outside of my small classroom. Since becoming an Intrepid Volunteer, I have shared the rich Intrepid story with visitors and patrons from across America and around the world. Intrepid has helped to expand my classroom to a breadth that would have been inaccessible otherwise. To see the electric wonder in the eyes and on the faces of students and patrons alike after experiencing the Intrepid Museum and its programs more than justifies its continued existence.

Charles F C.


Rating: 5

I have been a contributor and frequent visitor to the Intrepid Museum Foundation for more than 20 years and I can think of no other organization that does as much good with the contributions they receive. They enhance the education of students in the entire tri-state area with former crew members, interactive displays throughout the museum complex, and friendly, knowledgeable volunteers . Films and speakers, overnight trips for schools and scout groups in the newly refurbished lower deck. Space exploration, aircraft from every era of aviation history. Special displays highlighting the US Navy's early work in integrating our armed forces. It is a wonderful organization, and I am proud to support it.

Board Member

Rating: 5

Having been a trustee for 18 years, I have seen significant growth in all areas of the museum including exhibits, overall maintenance of the ship itself, and internal control improvements. Specifically, the museum has honed its overall mission of honoring those who have served our nation, providing exposure and education to the public and inspiration to youth. In addition, the museum has spurred the development of new charities to help wounded service men and women and their families. Its finances are very well managed including but not limited to growing an endowment, which the museum did not have 18 years ago. Its board oversight has significantly improved since a governance realignment two years ago. I have seen the Intrepid grow from simply a retired aircraft carrier and collection of restored naval sea and aircraft to a state of the art, interactive history and education center that puts it on par with any of New York City's other world-class museums. With the arrival of the space shuttle Enterprise, it shall most certainly be one of the world's premier and most unique Air, Sea and Space museums.