50th Anniversary Celebrations

August 27, 2023

Discovery of the USS Monitor

March 9, 2024

Confirmation of the USS Monitor's Location

January 30, 2025

Designation as the First National Marine Sanctuary

National Marine Sanctuary

Monitor National Marine Sanctuary was the first national marine sanctuary ever designated in the United States. It protects the wreck of the famed Civil War ironclad USS Monitor, and the sanctuary works with partners to honor and interpret it for the American people.


A sanctuary advisory council meeting

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The council is recruiting for all community seats. Click here to learn more and to download an application kit.

More News

Exploration of the USS Monitor

shark swimming over the wreck of the uss monitor

Dive 230 feet below the Atlantic Ocean off the North Carolina coast on one of our nation's most historic shipwrecks, USS Monitor. This Civil War ironclad sank in 1862, and in 1975, it became the first national marine sanctuary – Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. Transformed from a weapon of war to an island of marine life, Monitor continues to serve as habitat for a wealth of marine life. Dive in to see sand tiger sharks, sea turtles, and more!

USS Monitor Virtual Artifact Collection

wrought iron shot tongs

This virtual collection will act as a public resource to display many of the artifacts in pre- and post-treatment status to highlight the benefits of conservation and the science behind the conservation process. Explore the collection to learn more about the USS Monitor's artifacts and the stories these historic treasures can tell about the U.S. Civil War and life at sea in the 1860's.

USS Monitor Artifact Conservation

people working on the uss monitor engine

Artifacts recovered from the USS Monitor are conserved at the Batten Conservation Lab located in The Mariners' Museum and Park in Newport News, Virginia. Come explore artifact conservation and learn how you can see the artifacts and conservators at work.

Submerged NC Webinar Series

Person watching a NOAA webinar entitled We Rescued the Monitor after visiting Monitor National Marine Sanctuary.

This webinar series presented by Monitor National Marine Sanctuary in collaboration with the North Carolina Office of State Archaeology highlights research conducted for over 45 years to honor and protect the hallmarks of North Carolina's underwater cultural heritage – shipwrecks. Join us each month as scientists and educators present a look into the unique underwater museum and memorials to generations of mariners who lived, worked, died, and fought off our shores.

Monitor National Marine Sanctuary Poster

Monitor poster drawing of the wreck of the Monitor, a lantern from the Monitor, a diver, fish and an rov

As part of the 50th anniversary, a new commemorative poster will be released each month to capture the beauty and diversity of your National Marine Sanctuary System—starting with Monitor National Marine Sanctuary.

National Marine Sanctuary System

national marine Sanctuary system map

The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries serves as the trustee for a network of underwater parks encompassing more than 620,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters from Washington state to the Florida Keys, and from Lake Huron to American Samoa. The network includes a system of 15 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments.