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.

The USS monitor fighting the CSS Virginia Merrimac

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.

Robert Sheridan working to locate the monitor

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.

The turret of the monitor is pulled out of the water


Learn about expeditions to Monitor and the artifacts recovered.

two researchers scan the recovered turret of the monitor


Explore The Mariners' Museum and the Batten Conservation Lab, where over 200 tons of Monitor artifacts are being conserved and exhibited.

A diver shining a light onto a nearby school of fish


Get in touch with Monitor National Marine Sanctuary staff.


A diver poses for a picture near a part of a shipwreck


Learn about the partners we collaborate with to protect the USS Monitor.

A map of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary

Sanctuary Map

A detailed map of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary