USS Iowa prepped for final voyage - as museum

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The venerable battleship USS Iowa, dubbed the "Battleship of Presidents,"  has its mast back, and is being prepared for its final voyage in May.

The warship has been going through renovations before moving to a permanent mooring at the port of Los Angeles, where it will serve as a naval museum. One of the final renovations was the reattachment of the ship’s mast on Tuesday. The mast was originally removed 10 years ago, so the ship could pass under bridges along its tow route.

During the procedure, two handpicked Iowa residents dropped coins - in this case Iowa quarters - into the mast, a maritime tradition dating back to ancient Rome.

The refurbishment was funded in part by a $3 million bill signed by Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.

The Iowa was in service for more than 60 years and saw action in World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War. It also has earned its nickname after hosting Franklin D. Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush.

The ship will leave from a shipyard in Richmond, Calif., where the Pacific Battleship Center headed renovations, on May 20 and arrive in Los Angeles by June 9. The new museum will be open to the public on July 7.