From Excavation to Display – Research and Projects from the USS Monitor Center

Part of: Society for Historical Archaeology 2018

Major excavation of USS Monitor happened in 2001 & 2002, but the project did not end when 210 tons of the Civil War ironclad were recovered. Now, more than a decade later, the project continues as artifacts are conserved, stored, and displayed at The Mariners’ Museum and Park in Newport News, VA. Challenges have arisen, new research is constantly being conducted, and information presents itself in interesting ways. This session serves as a case study into what it takes to care for, display, and interpret a shipwreck after excavation.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-7 of 7)

  • Documents (7)

  • A Comparison Of Photogrammetric Software For Three-Dimensional Modeling Of Maritime Archaeological Objects (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only William L Fleming.

    Multi-photograph digital photogrammetry, a powerful tool for archaeologists, is quickly gaining traction for site and object recording and reproduction. As technology advances, new software packages are being developed, but are all packages the same? Does one software package have any advantages over another? Is one software package more useful in certain situations than another? These questions will be explored by recording the ventilation engines recovered from the wreck of the USS Monitor,...

  • Conservation at the Intersection of the Archaeological and Historical Records (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Lesley Haines.

    As the process of conserving USS Monitor artifacts continues, the Batten Conservation Complex staff at the Mariners’ Museum and Park constantly witness the intersection of the archaeological and historical records. There is an abundance of material to consult. Numerous documents related to Monitor survive, including newspaper articles, survivors’ accounts of the sinking, and ship plans. Additionally, NOAA’s excavations and continued study of the shipwreck combined with the on-going conservation...

  • Dry Ice Blasting Research and Testing for the Conservation of Metal Objects (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Laurie E King. William Hoffman.

    The objects recovered from USS Monitor are large, composite pieces that require complex conservation treatments. An innovative conservation technique currently implemented by the Batten Conservation Complex (BCC) is dry ice blasting.  Dry ice blasting involves the use of solid carbon dioxide pellets as an abrasive, and has the potential to be used  on a variety of materials for the removal of marine concretion and corrosion. The BCC has researched the use of dry ice blasting as a conservation...

  • Investigating Maker’s Marks Discovered on Artifacts from the Engine Room of the USS Monitor (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kathleen M. Sullivan.

    The life of the Union Civil War ironclad USS Monitor is well known and its famous battle against the CSS Virginia well documented; but, there are still many stories to be discovered, especially those of the men who built the vessel in just over 100 days. Conservation of artifacts recovered from Monitor’s wreck site is ongoing at The Mariners’ Museum and Park in Newport News, Virginia. During the conservation process maker’s marks have been found on several objects from the ship’s engine room....

  • Monitoring Two Decades of Progress: An Update on the Conservation of USS Monitor (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only William Hoffman.

      Between 1998 and 2002, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) archaeologists and experts from the U.S. Navy recovered approximately 210-tons of artifacts from the wreck site of the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor. Upon recovery, NOAA transferred all objects to The Mariners’ Museum and Park (TMMP) in Newport News, Virginia for conservation, curation, and display. Over the past 19 years, TMMP staff have made much progress in the conservation and stabilization of Monitor...

  • Piecing Together History: Conservation of a Wool Coat from USS Monitor (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Elsa Sangouard.

    On December 31st 1862, during the USS Monitor’s final hours, the ironclad’s crew discarded many personal items in its gun turret in preparation to crossing the deck and hopefully reach rescue boats. Recovered with the turret in 2002 through a joint effort between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the US Navy, these personal belongings are being conserved by a team of specialists within the Batten Conservation Complex at The Mariners’ Museum and Park (TMMP) in Newport...

  • A Step Toward Exhibition: Digital Reconstruction of Monitor Spaces (2018)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Hannah P. Fleming.

    210 tons of USS Monitor, including the majority of the engine room and the iconic turret, were recovered between 1998 and 2002 and are currently being conserved at The Mariners’ Museum and Park. While object treatments are ongoing, staff estimate that there are approximately 20 years of work left to finish the project. Even though the completion of conservation is two decades out, planning for the display of all the artifacts in the museum’s exhibition space is already underway. To assist in the...