Iconic Pearl Harbor Ship Gets a Face Lift

March 06, 2018

Over the course of her years as a museum ship, the Battleship Missouri has been subjected to the natural conditions of Pearl Harbor and wear and tear from her millions of visitors. To ensure she would always look her best, the Mighty Mo recently completed her largest repair and restoration effort in years, ensuring that visitors will be able once again to experience the battleship in pristine condition.

Before the Missouri restoration, rusted steel marred the appearance of the mighty ship, leading to a yearlong, $3.5 million renovation of her superstructure. On February 5, 2018, after nearly a year of behind-the-scenes work, scaffolding and barrier fabric that had obscured views of the deck were removed, revealing a Missouri that had been restored to her original glory.


Battleship Missouri Deck Flags

Battleship Missouri Deck Flags

At the close of World War II, the USS Missouri (BB-63) served as the site where Japan signed the official surrender documents. Her part in this momentous occasion, as well as her distinguished service during the war and in other conflicts that followed earned her a place of honor at Pearl Harbor, the site of the December 7, 1941 surprise Japanese attack that first drew the United States into World War II.

In 1998, she was officially donated to the USS Missouri Memorial Association of Honolulu, and she arrived in Hawaii later the same year. Roughly six months later, the "Mighty Mo" opened as a museum ship of Pearl Harbor and became a place where visitors from all over the globe could come to get a better understanding of life at sea aboard an American battleship.



Restoring an American Icon

Scaffolding and barrier fabric during the Missouri restoration

Scaffolding and barrier fabric during the Missouri restoration

The Missouri had nearly 75 years of wear and tear weighing her down, but the latest renovation ensures that she will be presenting her best face for many years to come. More than simply sprucing up the aging battleship, the Missouri restoration included repairs to holes in her steel decking and bulkheads, replacements for yardarms off the mast used for lines and signal flags, and a complete restoration of more than 17,000 lbs of rusted steel.

Additionally, approximately 27,000 square feet of the ship’s surfaces were blasted for a thorough cleaning while more than 700 gallons of battleship gray paint were applied to restore the finish. The goal of the USS Missouri Memorial Association was to restore the battleship to how she looked during the 50th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Missouri restoration enables visitors to explore her upper decks and to get a look at the site of the surrender ceremony in 1945. As a symbol of the Allied victory over Japan and US naval might through the years, the Battleship Missouri is an important and treasured resident of Pearl Harbor.

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