Lockheed pledges $1 million to Coast Guard Museum project
New London — Lockheed Martin, which owns Stratford-based Sikorsky, has pledged $1 million to the National Coast Guard Museum, the largest donation to date from the defense industry.
The company will have a wing of the museum named after it called the Lockheed Martin Saving Lives by Air Gallery. Sikorsky developed the HH-60 Jayhawk, which is used by the Coast Guard to carry out missions such as search and rescue.
"Lockheed Martin is humbled to join in recognizing the unsung service of Coast Guard men and women. Our deep investment in helping the U.S. Coast Guard to remain the best in the world is illustrated in this commitment to help bring the National Coast Guard Museum to fruition," Dale Bennett, executive vice president of rotary and mission systems for Lockheed, said in a statement.
Last year was the most successful private fundraising year for the National Coast Guard Museum Association, which is raising money to build the estimated $100 million museum on the waterfront in downtown New London. The museum association raised $6.8 million in private money in 2018. Total fundraising is about $42 million, including the $1 million gift from Lockheed, as well as state and federal monies.
Both the state and the federal government have contributed to the project. The state gave $20 million for the construction of a pedestrian bridge to provide access to the museum. So far, the federal government has contributed $5 million. The museum association is hoping to secure $30 million in total from the feds.
Members of Connecticut's congressional delegation pushed to change a law to allow the Coast Guard to help pay for interior aspects of the museum, such as displays and exhibits. There's also been a push in Congress to allow the Coast Guard to pay for design and engineering work to ready the museum for construction, but that has yet to go through. If it did pass, the Coast Guard still would be prohibited from spending money on actual construction.
The museum is being designed for pre-K through adult audiences, and will feature five main themes highlighting the Coast Guard's work: Defenders of the Nation, Enforcers on the Seas, Lifesavers around the Globe, Protectors of the Environment, and Champions of Commerce.