On March 8, 1862, the CSS Virginia entered the waters of Hampton Roads and destroyed the USS Cumberland and the USS Congress in a battle that showed the supremacy of iron over wood. The following day the Union ironclad Monitor met the Virginia in a battle, which, though fought to a draw, changed the very nature of naval warfare not only in America, but worldwide. One hundred and fifty-three years later, on March 7 & 8, 2015, The Mariners’ Museum will commemorate the two-day Battle of Hampton Roads with a weekend of family fun.
On Saturday & Sunday, with Museum admission, visitors can:
Again this year, visitors can go on a behind-the-scenes tour of the USS Monitor Center Wet Lab at a special discounted rate of $10/person in addition to Museum admission. Guided tours will be offered in half-hour increments throughout the weekend with a limit of 15 people per tour. Tickets can be purchased at the admissions desk during the weekend.
Saturday, 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., & Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Front Lawn, Main Lobby, & USS Monitor Center
Behind-The-Scenes Conservation Lab Tours
The USS Monitor Center Wet Lab
Ironclad BattleQuest 2015
The USS Monitor Center
Main Lobby & Concourse
Behind-The-Scenes Conservation Lab Tours
USS Monitor Center Wet Lab
Visitors can go on an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the USS Monitor Center Wet Lab, which is part of the world’s largest marine archaeological metals conservations facility. Conservation professionals responsible for treating Monitor’s turret, engine and other artifacts will lead each tour. Get an intimate look at some of the ship’s amazing artifacts.
Saturday, March 7
“The President is Dead! A Photographic Study of the Lincoln Assassination”
Join with historian Carson Hudson as he tells the story of the Lincoln assassination through the examination and analysis of period photographs.
* Some of the images may be disturbing to some viewers. *
“The Baker Brothers and the Merrimack”
Anna Holloway, PhD
Maritime Historian, National Park Service
On May 30, 1861, Barnabas and Joseph Baker of the B & J Baker Co. of 2 Campbell’s Wharf, in Norfolk, VA, raised the burned-out hull of the Merrimack from the Elizabeth River. Barnabas, who lived in Portsmouth, and Joseph, who lived in Berkeley, were specialists in salvage and ‘submarine diving.’ Though New Englanders by birth, they threw their lot in with their adopted state and assisted the Confederate Navy in its efforts. Post-war, they were among the salvors who retrieved the remains of the CSS Virginia, and became one of the most important wrecking and salvage companies on the east coast.
“A Conversation with Mr. Lincoln”
Acclaimed Abraham Lincoln interpreter
Sit down with President Abraham Lincoln himself for a conversation about current events. Current for the 1860s, that is! Lincoln will be portrayed by George Buss, an acclaimed interpreter whose likeness to Lincoln and mastery of the 16th president’s history and mannerisms has inspired awe in audiences nationwide. Families will be encouraged to ask questions of the 16th president.
Civil War Beard Competition
See tab for more information
“Three Women, Three Opinions of War”
Caitlin Burke, Wisteria Perry, & Melissa Mead
A Northern woman, Southern woman and former slave share their experiences and opinions about the Civil War.
Fire and Ice: The Iron Circus
Main Parking Lot
This one-of-a-kind event will be performed by International Sculptor Kenneth Payne and feature the pouring molten iron into specially prepared blocks of optically pure ice. While the difference between these materials is roughly 3,000 degrees, they can be brought together to create a spectral beauty that surpasses both.
History Bites Food-Tasting Event
See tab for more information
Sunday, March 8
“The Civil War and Memory on the Virginia Peninsula”
J. Michael Moore
Curator, Lee Hall Mansion & Endview Plantation
The Virginia Peninsula, situated between the James and York rivers, was recognized as strategically important by the Confederate and Union leaders in the first few months of the Civil War. Fort Monroe, located at Old Point Comfort, was only eighty miles from the Confederate capital at Richmond. Thus, the Union had a secure base for operations in the Chesapeake Bay region and along the Atlantic coast. While many of the major events in the first year of the Civil War occurred on the Peninsula during the conflict’s first year, the repercussions lasted much longer. This lecture will examine the major participants, battles, the home front, and the visible reminders of the America’s bloodiest war that still dwell in the collective memory of our region.
“Lincoln’s Dreams of Death”
Jonathan W. White, PhD
Assistant Professor of American Studies at CNU
As we approach the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's assassination, Jonathan White will explore the various dreams and premonitions Lincoln had that foretold his untimely death.
What Shipwrecks Like the Monitor and Titanic can Teach Us about our Oceans and Man's Relationship with the Sea
Monitor National Marine Sanctuary Superintendent, NOAA
For forty years, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries has protected and preserved some of the most important shipwrecks in US history, using the power of maritime heritage to engage the public in a discussion on ocean health. Learn how famous shipwrecks can be a powerful tool to inspire, educate, and create a more ocean literate society.
“Quilted in History: The Baltimore Album Quilt in the collection of The Mariners' Museum”
Lauren T. Furey
Coordinator of Interpretation and Volunteers
Share in a multitude of photos of the only actual quilt in the collection of The Mariners' Museum. Enjoy close up views of a 19th century commemorative quilt that was presented to Joshua Young in appreciation of his efforts in establishing a Seamans Bethel in Maryland. Learn about this quilt, the fabrics and a few of the talented stitchers who created it, including Mary Evans and Maria Simon.
Conversation with Mr. Lincoln Student Program
On Friday, March 6, students around the country will be able to participate in a “Conversation with Mr. Lincoln” via video-conferencing. They will learn about the 16th president of the United States, hear his thoughts on the American Civil War and conclude the program with a Q&A session with Mr. Lincoln. The program can be booked for a school group by calling (757) 591-7745.
Civil War Beard Competition
Saturday, March 7 @ 2:30 p.m., Main Lobby
To celebrate the iconic styles of Civil War-era facial hair, participants with beards and mustaches will get to compete in one of several categories based on Civil War and USS Monitor historical figures. Categories are below.
Judges of the competition will include local celebrities, the Hampton Roads Beard and Stache Society, and of course, Abraham Lincoln. It is free to enter with Museum admission, but donations to the Peninsula Food Bank are strongly suggested. There will be a collection box at the registration table.
There will be one winner for each category. Prizes will vary per category but include beard-styling products, gift cards and Museum memberships.
Best in Show
Judges will vote by ballot amongst 1st place winners for Best in Show.
Kids categories for Saturday and Sunday (Kids only on Sunday!) @ 2:30 p.m., Main Lobby
Prizes for the Civil War Beard Competition were donated by these great sponsors:
Saturday, March 7, Main Lobby @ 6:30 p.m.
Emceed by Patrick Evans-Hylton
A food tasting event of historic proportions!
The event will be emceed by Hampton Roads celebrity “foodie” and “Virginia’s ambassador of taste” Patrick Evans-Hylton, whose columns can be read in Coastal Virginia magazine and The Virginian-Pilot. Evans-Hylton also regularly appears on WHRV’s “Hearsay,” and on WAVY TV’s Hampton Roads Show.
Tasters will help award trophies, with awards being given in the following categories:
Participating restaurants and caterers include the following:
Back for a second year! Top restaurants and caterers in Hampton Roads will compete in a food-tasting event of historic proportions.
The contestants will prepare a selection of traditional 19th century dishes representing the North, the South and the Navy, preparing their best interpretations of dishes that may include:
During the Civil War, coffee beans were not always readily available, requiring folks to get creative about ingredients used to brew “coffee.” Participants will be asked to prepare a coffee beverage without using coffee beans.
Tickets are $35 in advance and $45 day of the event. Museum Members receive $5 off tickets purchased in advance. Tickets include unlimited tastings from all participants and two drink tickets. A cash bar will be available offering beer, wine, grog and other specialty drinks of the Civil War-era. Come hungry!
Saturday, March 7, Main Parking Lot
New this year! Join The Mariners’ Museum for a one-of-a-kind iron pour. Historic iron casting demonstrations will take place throughout the day. Iron casting experts will be on hand demonstrating traditional methods of mold making, iron pouring and foundry work using a portable blast furnace. There will be historical sand molding demonstrations and live iron casting throughout the day, and a dazzling fire and ice performance in the evening. Visitors are encouraged to ask questions of the expert iron-sculptors on site.
Iron Pour Demonstrations Are 100% FREE! No admission required.
Don't know what an "Iron Pour" is? Watch a short demonstration below...
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Green Sand Molding Demonstrations
There will be Green Sand Molding demonstrations showing the traditional sand and clay molding method used to create many of the components on USS Monitor!
10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Make Your Own Mold with sand Scratch Blocks
For $20 each, visitors can carve designs into premade sand molds and watch as they are turned into cast-iron souvenirs right in front of them!
12:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
5:30 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Fire and Ice Performance: “The Iron Circus”
This one-of-a-kind event will be performed by International Sculptor Kenneth Payne and feature the pouring molten iron into specially prepared blocks of optically pure ice. While the difference between these materials is roughly 3000 degrees, they can be brought together to create a spectral beauty that surpasses both.
What is a "Scratch Block"?
A scratch bock is a simple kind of metal casting mold called an open-faced mold. It consists of a bonded sand tablet with a flat rectangular recess in the middle. They are an ideal and safe way for the public to participate in the metal casting process.
To turn a blank scratch block into a mold ready for casting, the participant (adult or child) is given a nail. That person then uses the nail to “scratch or carve” a design into the recess of at the center of the block. Just like in printmaking the design has to be backwards! The designer also has to think about positive and negative space because they are making a negative which will become a positive. The completed scratch block is then filled with liquid metal to create a casting. Part of the excitement of making a scratch block is that you can literally watch your design come to life!
Scratch Block Pre Sale
Saturday, February 28 @ 10:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. & 1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m., Main Lobby
The Museum is hosting a scratch block pre-sale day this Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Guests can carve their scratch blocks early, and they will be ready for pick up on Sunday, March 8 or later. Quantities are limited, so get yours early to secure a block!
To reserve your block:
Scratch blocks will be sold at the Museum's admission desk for $20 a piece. Call the admissions desk at (757) 596-2222 to reserve your scratch block.
Walk-ins welcome, but registration is preferred. For more information, please call Will Hoffman at (757) 591-7768
"The Iron Circus"
Saturday, March 7 @ 5:30 p.m., Main Parking Lot
The iconic splendor of eternal fire is captured in the flow of molten iron and a cold austere magnificence is frozen in the structure of crystalline ice. While the difference between these materials is roughly 3,000 degrees. They can be brought together to create a spectral beauty that surpasses both.
The performance known as the iron Circus harnesses the thermal barrier produced between two materials of such extreme temperature differences by pouring molten iron into specially prepared blocks of optically pure ice. Augmented with other pyrotechnic flourishes this process captures and presents to the viewer an aesthetically beautiful representation of this phenomenon.
Watch a short preview of the "The Iron Circus" below...
Iron Sculpting Artists
Sculptor Kenneth Patrick Payne was born in Milwaukee Wisconsin. After attending seven different colleges and universities He received his MFA from the University of Wisconsin. He began teaching at Buffalo State College in 1990. He has lived and worked in many places and has completed large scale sculpture projects in several countries including Hungary, Israel, Finland, Latvia, Estonia and the United States. He has shown widely and is represented in many public and private collections.
Christian Benefiel is a sculptor from western Maryland. Specializing in cast metal sculpture, he is the recipient of numerous awards including a 2011 Fulbright grant to Finland. His work is shown nationally and internationally, and he has done residencies in art and museum spaces including the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD and the Jackson County Green Energy Park in NC. He currently teaches Sculpture among other things at Shepherd University in Shepherdstown WV.