The effort that began in June has raised nearly $300,000, said John Johnson, treasurer of the National Coast Guard Museum Association. He hopes the museum can open by early 2018, but it needs tens of millions more dollars.
"I'm not the least bit daunted by it," Johnson said. He said he has been targeting individual donors but is now focusing on corporate sponsors.
The association hopes the federal government will contribute as much as $30 million, but the law that authorized the museum more than a decade ago prohibited the use of federal money for its design and construction. U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, who represents eastern Connecticut, said that treats the Coast Guard project differently from national museums for other service branches, and he has had discussions with House colleagues to pursue federal funding opportunities.
Courtney also said he has 276 of the 290 co-sponsors he needs for legislation that would require the U.S. Mint to create a commemorative coin that honors the Coast Guard, with proceeds benefiting the museum.
The state of Connecticut has pledged up to $20 million for a pedestrian bridge and transportation upgrades around the museum.