The Nation's First Sanctuary
On January 30, 1975, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) designated the wreck of the USS Monitor as the nation's first national marine sanctuary. Over 45 years later, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary continues to protect this famed Civil War ironclad.
With over four decades of protecting and preserving our nation's maritime heritage, Monitor National Marine Sanctuary and partners began in 2008 to document and survey the many World War II shipwrecks surrounding the sanctuary. Currently, NOAA is reviewing the sanctuary's boundaries and considering an expansion to protect these wrecks. Click on the Expansion link below to learn more.
History of the USS Monitor
Learn about the history of the USS Monitor, the Union's first Civil War ironclad that fought CSS Virginia in the Battle of Hampton Roads.
Discovery and Designation
Read about the 1973 Duke University Marine Lab expedition that discovered the USS Monitor's wreck site, and how that site became the first national marine sanctuary.
Learn about expeditions to Monitor and the artifacts recovered.
Explore The Mariners' Museum and the Batten Conservation Lab, where over 200 tons of Monitor artifacts are being conserved and exhibited.
Learn about NOAA's proposed sanctuary expansion to include World War I and World War II shipwrecks.
Get in touch with Monitor National Marine Sanctuary staff.
Learn about the partners we collaborate with to protect the USS Monitor.
A detailed map of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary