Weekend commemorates 156 years since Battle of the Ironclads
On March 9-11, 2018, The Mariners' Museum and Park will commemorate the Civil War Battle that changed modern naval history forever. The Battle of Hampton Roads, when the Union ironclad USS Monitor fought the Confederate ironclad CSS Virginia to a draw, proved the supremacy of iron to wood. One hundred and fifty-six years later, the Museum remembers the Battle with a weekend full of family-friendly activities, special events, lectures, and more! This year, in addition to the Battle itself, the weekend will focus on technology in the Civil War.
Special hours for Battle of Hampton Roads Weekend:
Activities run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Most activities FREE with Museum admission. For Museum admission information, click here.
Activities both outside and inside the Museum will occur Saturday and Sunday and will include:
Sip & Sculpt
Friday, March 9, 2018
Main Lobby @ 7:00 p.m.
Enjoy adult beverages and light hors d'oeuvres while creating your own iron-cast molds.
Click here for details
Saturday, March 10, 2018
Main Lobby @ 6:30 p.m.
Don your most creative Steampunk clothes and accessories, and sample a delicious array of foods during this year's Steampunk-themed History Bites!Click here for details
Ongoing Weekend Activities
Pegram's Battery, a volunteer artillery unit from Petersburg National Battlefield, will perform firing demonstrations with a reproduction of a 12-pound Napoleon cannon.
Naval officers and sailors
Naval officers and sailors aboard a Civil War ironclad warship will be portrayed by the Tidewater Maritime Living History Association.
Coffee with the cook
Visitors can enjoy a cup of coffee on the deck of the Monitor replica, while learning about cooking aboard the USS Monitor. A cook will prepare portions of a daily meal that was served to men enlisted in the war.
The Tidewater Blacksmith Guild and the Central Virginia Blacksmith Guild will demonstrate ironwork techniques. Visitors will also see an embalmer and a coffin maker at work.
H. L. Hunley, 1863 submarine replica
A reproduction of the 1863 Submarine, H. L. Hunley, will be available to view. The vessel was used by the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.
Abraham Lincoln & John Ericsson
Snap a selfie with the 16th president of the United States, and USS Monitor designer, John Ericsson. Both will visit with attendees throughout the weekend!
Pick up your BattleQuest scavenger hunt guide in the concourse! The interactive game will transport you back to the American Civil War. Find out how technology changed the war, try your hand at sending a telegraph, talk to Abraham Lincoln and take a selfie with John Ericsson. Learn about Civil War technologies, and so much more, before receiving a special certificate.
Visit our Community Partners, who will have tables set up in the Concourse:
Create Your Own Cast Iron Mold
Saturday only, March 10, 2018 @ 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
(available while supplies last)
For $20, participates will carve designs into sand casting molds and watch as they are turned into metal souvenirs right in front of them!
Iron Foundry and Casting Demonstrations
Saturday only, March 10, 2018 @ 12 - 5 p.m.
Main Museum Parking Lot
Experts will use a portable blast furnace to demonstrate traditional methods of mold making, iron pouring, and foundry work. They will employ the same techniques used to build the USS Monitor.
Green Sand Molding Demonstration
Saturday only, March 10, 2018 @ 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Main Museum Parking Lot
See the historical molding method used to create many of the cast metal components of USS Monitor.
Behind-the-scenes Tours of the USS Monitor Batten Conservation Lab
Saturday & Sunday @ 11 a.m., 12 p.m., 1 p.m., 2 p.m., 3 p.m., 4 p.m.
USS Monitor Center
Returning this year are the popular behind-the-scenes tours of the USS Monitor Batten Conservation Lab. Guests can enjoy a backstage look at the famed USS Monitor Center and its Wet Lab, where 200 tons of artifacts from the USS Monitor are undergoing conservation. Tours are $10 per person, and are suited for ages 10 and up. Closed-toe shoes only. Photography permitted for personal use only. Limit of 15 people per tour. Visitors can sign up for scheduled tours throughout the day at the Admissions Desk.
*Tours are subject to change or cancellation at any time due to Conservation priorities
Worthington Pump Replica Demonstration
Sunday only, March 11, 2018 @ 1:45 p.m.
Outside Main Entrance
A demonstration of a Worthington Pump replica from the USS Monitor will be held in the courtyard at 1:45 p.m. Will Hoffman, Director of Conservation and Chief Conservator at the Museum, will perform the demonstration following a lecture on the replication process, which involves 3-D printing, laser scanning, and traditional foundry techniques.
Taste hand-cranked ice cream aboard the USS Monitor replica
Saturday & Sunday @ 3 p.m.
USS Monitor replica
Eric Jeanneret will demonstrate how to make ice cream the old-fashioned way on the USS Monitor replica. Try your hand at hand-cranking vanilla ice cream, and taste the dessert afterwards! The event will be held at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Saturday, March 10
“The Age of Iron”
Following the American Civil War, a number of improvements were made to ironclad vessels to better project the imperialistic interests of world navies. Rams were built as part of the hull designs and improved turrets allowed the use of heavier guns, all of which enhanced combat capabilities. Eventually, however, new technologies replaced ironclad ships as the Age of Steel emerged. Steel rifled long-range guns, stronger shot-stopping steel armor, and new propulsion systems marked significant changes in this new era of naval warfare. John Quarstein, historian and author, and Director Emeritus of the USS Monitor Center, begins our day with this engaging look at the time when iron ruled the waves.
“A Conversation with Abraham Lincoln”
George Buss with Dr. Jonathan White
George Buss is a renowned portrayer of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. Jonathan White is an acclaimed historian and educator, a professor of American Studies at Christopher Newport University, and the author of several books including Emancipation, the Union Army, and the Reelection of Abraham Lincoln. Please join them in a wide-ranging conversation about President Lincoln's fascination with technology, and its myriad uses during the Civil War.
“The Infernal Machines of the Civil War”
Michael Kochan has been researching Civil War-era mines and torpedoes for almost two decades. With his background in manufacturing, he has been able to make full size reproductions of the torpedoes for living history programs and museums along the east coast. He is the co-author of Torpedoes: Another Look at the Infernal Machines of the Civil War and Civil War Torpedoes: A History of Improvised Explosives in the War Between the States. This presentation will discuss the beginnings of torpedoes, leading up to and concentrating on their development and successful use during the Civil War by both the United States and the Confederacy.
“Creative Science and Technology in the Civil War”
Dr. Charles Ross
The Civil War occurred at an important time in the history of technology as the industrial revolution increased the demand for scientifically literate men. Due to their West Point education many of these men found themselves on battlefields between 1861-1865 and were able to use their scientific knowledge in ingenious ways. In this presentation Dr. Charles Ross will examine two specific examples of such application of knowledge, the mine at Petersburg and the Confederate Powder Works in Augusta, Georgia. He will also explore acoustic shadows, a battlefield phenomenon that was widely observed in the Civil War but little understood at the time. Chuck Ross is Professor of Physics and former Dean of the Cook-Cole College of Arts and Sciences at Longwood University in Farmville. He has written three books on science and technology in the Civil War: Trial by Fire: Science, Technology and the Civil War; Civil War Acoustic Shadows; and Never for Want of Powder: The Confederate Powder Works.
“The Pet of the People:” How the Monitor's Form Captured the Public's Imagination
Dr. Anna Gibson Holloway
The technological marvel that was the Monitor captured the public's fancy almost as soon as she was launched in 1862. Find out how the Union ironclad developed her own cult of personality in this illustrated, poetic, and musical lecture. Anna Gibson Holloway is Director of Museum Services for SEARCH, Inc., a national cultural resources management firm with offices in the Washington, DC area. She has previously worked for the National Park Service as Maritime Historian and was Vice President of Collections and Programs for The Mariners' Museum, where she was also curator of the award-winning USS Monitor Center exhibition. She is the author, with Jonathan White, of the book “Our Little Monitor:” The Greatest Invention of the Civil War (2018).
“The Monitor in the Movies”
Dr. Jonathan White
The final talk of the afternoon will discuss the Monitor's appearances in films and television programs, exploring what Hollywood gets right and what it makes up for the good of the story. Jonathan W. White is associate professor of American Studies at Christopher Newport University and is the author or editor of eight books, including Emancipation, the Union Army, and the Reelection of Abraham Lincoln, which was a finalist for both the Lincoln Prize and the Jefferson Davis Prize, a “best book” in Civil War Monitor, and the winner of the Abraham Lincoln Institute's 2015 book prize. His most recent books are Midnight in America: Darkness, Sleep, and Dreams during the Civil War, which was named a “best book” by Civil War Monitor, and “Our Little Monitor”: The Greatest Invention of the Civil War, with Anna Gibson Holloway.
Sunday, March 11
“What's Old is New”
Sunday's lecture will cover how replicas of a Worthington Steam Pump from USS Monitor and a cannon from the Revolutionary War were made using laser-scanning, 3-D printing, and Traditional Foundry Techniques. Will Hoffman, Director of Conservation and Chief Conservator at the Museum, will give the talk. Often, providing interpretation for archaeological artifacts can be quite challenging, due to degradation caused during years of burial. In many cases, even after the objects have gone through the conservation treatment process, they are still too fragile to display. Additionally, for artifacts made of component parts, it is common for some pieces to deteriorate, making reassembly after conservation much more difficult. So, how can we tell the stories of these kinds of objects? This lecture will provide an overview of two approaches taken that blend archaeology and technology to connect the public to the history of two very unique artifacts. Following the lecture, meet Will outside the main entrance to watch a replica demonstration of the Worthington Steam Pump from USS Monitor at 1:45 p.m.
Sip and Sculpt
Friday, March 9, 2018 @ 7 p.m. - 9 p.m., Main Lobby
Returning this year, a Battle of Hampton Roads Weekend event where guests can enjoy a glass of their favorite adult beverages while creating their own iron-cast molds.
The molds will then be used to turn the design into a work of art using traditional iron-casting techniques during iron pour demonstrations throughout the weekend.
Space is limited. Tickets include 1 scratch block, 2 drink tickets, and light hors d'oeuvres.
$50 for guests, $35 for Members
Saturday, March 10, 2018, Main Lobby @ 6:30 p.m.
A food tasting event of HISTORIC proportions!
Don your most creative Steampunk clothes and accessories, and sample a delicious array of foods during this year's Steampunk-themed History Bites!
Hampton Roads' top restaurants,caterers, and culinary schools will prepare their best interpretations of 19th-century dishes, representing both the North the South and the Navy. We will have two signature drinks: “Cherry Bounce,” and “Lemon Punch,” at the bar. Cherry Bounce is made of cherries, sugar, bourbon and cinnamon, while the Barbados Lemon Punch includes lemons, sugar, brandy, and rum.
Newport News' Ironclad Distillery is the specialty drink sponsor for this event.
Guests are free to dress to the nines in a Steampunk-themed outfit or come in casual dress. Mingle with others—including character Abraham Lincoln—and vote for favorite entrees, sides and desserts.
Cooks will compete for the coveted Cast-Iron Skillet Awards, including People's Choice and Judge's Choice.
Tickets: $35 ($30 for Museum Members). $45 day of the event.
Tickets include unlimited food tastings and one drink ticket.
A cash bar will be available offering beer and wine.
2018 Participating Restaurants, Caterers, and Culinary Schools:
Morse Code Converter
Morse Code Converter courtesy of Mr. Henry Waddill
About Morse Code
In 1836, Samuel F. B. Morse demonstrated that electrical signals could be transmitted through a wire and he developed a code to use these signals to send messages. His code made it possible to send messages between two telegraph offices that were often located hundreds of miles apart. Although it was expensive, the telegraph messages could arrive within minutes, which was much sooner than having to wait for a letter to arrive by ship, train or on horseback.
The US Civil War was the first in which Morse Code was used strategically. Messages about troop movements, battlefield tactics and supplies were sent between commanding officers and to Washington, D.C. The speed with which a telegraph could be sent, meant that they could react quickly to changing conditions on the battlefield, sometimes changing the course of a battle. Civilian and military telegraph operators working for the Union and the Confederacy ran thousands of miles of wire and sent millions of telegraphs during the war.