Removal Day

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Photograph by Brock Switzer

Although I already shared a picture of the Great Hall empty, it took quite a bit of effort to get the last few pieces out.  We hired Hampton Roads Crane and Rigging to help us out and, as usual, they did an excellent job.

The first of the three pieces to come down was the stern carving from the paddle wheel steamer Priscilla, in service from 1893-1938.  Until Commonwealth was built she was considered the finest steamboat around and could reach a speed of 22mph.  Below is a picture of the stern carving on the boat.   Read more

Some special events from last week

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Well, we may be done in the tank farm but that doesn’t mean that life around the lab has slowed at all. We are now back to working on individual projects. There were, however a couple of special events last week.

Rich Carlstedt came to visit and brought along his model of the Monitor’s main steam engine. This incredible model was built to a 1/16th scale and we believe it to be the most accurate model of the engine in existence. Rich probably knows more about the engine than any man alive and was happy to share this knowledge with us during a special guest lecture. He also ran the model for us, a fascinating thing to see. If you would like to see what the Monitor’s main engine would have looked like while in action, you should go and check out this YouTube video.   Read more

"only 90 minutes, incredible!"

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This entry is to focus on the challenges of we docents at TMM face in meeting time restraints of visitors.  I recently greeted a nice couple with four children, ages 8-15, from outside of Westchester, N.Y.  I  asked them what their time allowance was, and they said ” an hour and a half!”  (a challenge persists).  I offered them a 1 hour tour, or so, of the museum galleries, excluding The Monitor Center and The Chesapeake Bay Gallery.  They willingly accepted and were most interested  throughout the tour. It seems that their 14 year-old son had a basketball tournament nearby. They were most interested during the tour. While in the Great Hall of Steam, I noticed that the 10-year-old son was lingering in front of one of the working  model steam engines.  I said “it seems we have future engineer among us.”  The mother replied, “that is what he wants to be”. At the completion of the gallery tour, we entered the museum back by The Monitor Center and I was able to convince them that the remaining part of their time would be best used by watching the Battle of Hampton Roads, which was showing  just at the time we arrived at the entrance to the Battle Theater!

As I was escorting  them out,  the entire family was most gracious and said how impressed they were with the museum.  The father said it was “incredible” what we had achieved  in “only 90 minutes”.  They will not long forget their “whirlwind” visit to The Mariners’ Museum. (nor will I)