Conservation

front of the monitor museum
A replica of the USS Monitor sits outside of The Mariners' Museum and Park. Photo: Courtesy of The Mariners' Museum and Park

On March 9, 1987, The Mariners' Museum and Park in News, Virginia, was designated the principal repository and conservation facility for USS Monitor artifacts recovered from the site. It is also the official visitor center for Monitor National Marine Sanctuary.

In 2007, the museum opened the Batten Conservation Laboratory Complex. This state-of-the-art facility houses thousands of small and large Monitor artifacts where scientists study the corrosion process and preserve components of the shipwreck. In the conservation complex, museum visitors can stand just feet from the turret, steam engine, and Dahlgren guns as they watch conservators at work.

conservators study a cannon of the monitor
Conservators work to preserve one of Monitor's Dahlgren guns. Photo courtesy of The Mariners' Museum and Park
conservators work on the turret ring of the monitor
Conservators work on the recovered turret of the USS Monitor. Photo courtesy of The Mariners' Museum and Park

That same year, the museum's USS Monitor Center opened to the public. At the heart of the center is the exhibition Ironclad Revolution, which offers a melding of artifacts, original documents, paintings, personal accounts, interactive exhibits, and environments that immerse visitors in the story of the USS Monitor.

the welcoming display in the monitor museum
The USS Monitor Center's Ironclad Revolution exhibit brings viewers into the history of the USS Monitor. Photo courtesy of The Mariners' Museum and Park