Monday, August 6, 2012

The Monitor Center at the Mariner's Museum

This post is a continuation of the visit a friend and I made to the Mariner's Museum in Newport News last Friday. It features the USS Monitor Center with the recovered artifacts on display.

I saw the turret about a year after it was recovered from it's resting place just off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. At that time it was outside in a huge tank with water continually spraying over it, a part of it's conservation.

When we arrived last Friday I was amazed that a huge building had been erected around this tank and many artifacts added to the Monitor Center.

You really need a wee bit of history to help you understand the Monitor's story.

It was in 1861 when the North commissioned it's first ironclad warship. She was a strange looking contraption and was described as  'a cheese box on a raft'. A large gun turret, the first 360 degree rotating gun turret sat above a heavily armored ship.

 Just about all but the turret sat underwater to protect it from shell damage. It wasn't much seaworthy and so was towed from New York to Virginia for it's participation in the Battle of Hampton Roads.

The turret had two 11 inch Dahlgren guns which sat side by side. This photo shows a recovered gun in a preservation tank.

a replica

With a complete rotation for firing, it was a danger to anything front, back and sideways. The CSS Virginia and the USS Monitor fought it out, firing at each other but really there was little damage done to either ship.

It was months later, on Dec. 31, 1862 that the Monitor sank just off Cape Hattaras, due to high waves. And, there it sat for over a hundred years.

In 1998 the propellor was raised from the watery depths.

In 2001 Divers brought up the 30 long ton steam engine.
In August 2002 the massive gun turret was recovered. These items are in the Monitor Center at the Museum.

A life size replica sits just outside the center and you may walk on the deck. I took these pictures from there

It was a fun-filled day and I learned some more history about our country. That's always a good thing.

This is part of My World. You can click on the link and see other exciting places from around the world.


  1. Very interesting, Latane. I like it when you give us some of the history, too. See, I have learned something new today. Glad you had a good time.

  2. Interesting post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

  3. I enjoyed this post and your photos so much. I have visited Cape Hatteras before - love that area!

  4. Fascinating bits of history - nice that they were able to recreate much of what had sunk.

  5. Interesting post and I learned something new today. I have been to Cape Hatteras. What a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing, have a great week!

  6. Wow! Mom, there is so much displayed! I've never seen it since all this was done after my last visit. Would love to go back and see all of the Monitor's restored and replicated parts! Great post!

  7. I am always encouraged when folks make a huge effort to preserve the artifacts of the past. There are people behind these objects that shouldn’t be forgotten.

  8. Thanks for the tour of this interesting place.

  9. How informative! Thank your for sharing.

    Cheers ... visiting from Our World Tuesday.

    Now, here's something completely different:

  10. Thanks for the tour and the information.


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