By CAROL COMEGNO
John Shaw has what may be the most important job for the
USS New Jersey.
He is developing programs to attract visitors and find
private revenue sources to keep the historic ship
financially afloat once it opens as a museum and
Shaw, 50, of Cherry Hill, has been named the first
director of programs and education for the ship museum,
scheduled to open Sept. 2 at a new pier on the Delaware
River near the New Jersey State Aquarium and E-Centre.
Shaw works for the Center for Management and
Entrepreneurship at the Rutgers University School of
Business in Camden, and is assigned to the battleship
project to develop a business plan and educational
The Home Port Alliance - the nonprofit group the Navy
awarded the warship to - has a contract with Rutgers for
around $85,000, which includes Shaw's salary and other
"It is a neat challenge because part of the plan here is
to develop a visitation program that will make this a
serious memorial, but at the same time an attraction that
can be a destination for families, companies and youth,"
said Shaw, who was raised in Pitman and Glassboro. "We know
there will be initial interest, but we must develop an
association with the whole Camden Waterfront. We want to
share in marketing costs with other attractions and develop
cross-curricular educational materials with them."
He said he will develop a plan to generate revenue
through admissions, special programming and events, as well
as separate fund-raising in order for the ship to become
self-sustaining and not dependent on public money.
The USS New Jersey is one of the most highly decorated
ships in Navy history, with 15 battle stars garnered in
three major wars - World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
The 887-foot-long Iowa-class ship - the largest class of
U.S. battleship - was built at the former Philadelphia
Naval Shipyard a few miles downriver from Camden.
Shaw has already visited the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space
Museum in New York City and plans to visit others to see
what programs they have instituted to attract revenue from
visitors and special events.
"I know there are things I can learn from other
museums," he said, adding that some of the information has
already been gathered and included in the plan the Home
Port Alliance submitted to the Navy to get the ship.
"The idea is to keep it affordable so families can bring
their children and grandchildren," he said.
Shaw said Kean University in Union, Hudson County, and
the state battleship commission are also developing a
statewide curriculum about the New Jersey that will be
taught in schools by 2002.
Shaw's skills include not only business management, but
also education, video production, theater and planning. His
voice can be heard on a Friday morning magazine program
that he also produces on PAX Channel 61.
"It is a celebration of the church today. We interview
people you meet in everyday life that have a faith basis
for what drives them," said Shaw, a lay leader at
Haddonfield United Methodist Church.
Retired Rear Admiral Thomas Seigenthaler, the alliance's
executive director, said the group is fortunate to have the
support of Rutgers in filling the position.
"With a hand-selected professional assigned to our
project, we add critical business expertise to our ability
to tell the story of the USS New Jersey in the most
effective and professional manner," Seigenthaler said.
"This is a great story, and the fact that the ship is in
Camden is magnificent," Shaw said. "When I learned we got
it, I said, `Wow!' I think it can make some difference. I
think we are on the verge of a Waterfront revival that will