Bells Across the Land

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Engine Room Gong

This is a photo of USS Monitor‘s engine room gong after conservation at The Mariners’ Museum. We briefly rang this gong in 2012 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the sinking of USS Monitor and to remember the lives of her crew lost off Hatteras, NC in 1862.

On Thursday, April 9 at 3:00pm, staff and visitors at The Mariners’ will be joining the National Park Service’s Bells Across the Land initiative to commemorate 150th anniversary of Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, which represents the symbolic end of the Civil War. We will host a ceremony aboard the USS Monitor replica outside the USS Monitor Center, hear brief remarks from speakers, observe a moment of silence, and ring the replica’s bronze bell.   Read more

Help Identify a Mystery Artifact

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Over the past 13 years, NOAA archaeologists and Mariners’ Museum conservators have discovered hundreds of amazing artifacts within USS Monitor‘s revolving gun turret. Some artifacts, like the Dahlgren guns, gun carriages, and gun tools, are undergoing conservation as I type this blog entry. Others have already been fully conserved and are now on display within the USS Monitor Center at The Mariners’ Museum or have been loaned to other institutions around the country to help share Monitor‘s fascinating stories.

However, there are handful of artifacts that continue to mystify us in the lab, particularly those that have been fully conserved but not properly identified. It may sound strange or surprising that in the last 13 years we have not successfully identified every single artifact from the turret. But this is often the case when many materials are excavated from an archaeological setting.   Read more

Shifting Weight with the Engine

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This past week the 30,000 gallon tank containing Monitor’s steam engine was drained for a key milestone in the conservation of this unique artifact. The purpose for the tank drain was the installation of a new support system under the engine that will enable the eventual disassembly of  the object.  Up to this week, the engine which weighs approximately 25 tons, had been suspended off the ground from a massive I-bean supported on large steel posts. In the images below, you can see the engine before and after recent deconcretion efforts suspended from the I-beam.  

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Monitor’s Turret: A Private Screening

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This past week, the Monitor conservation staff began screening concretion and corrosion products removed from the interior of the turret over the last 10 weeks (see previous posts and video links on the main page). As with any archaeological excavation, we want to make sure that even small objects and fragments are recovered for future study and interpretation. This being said, we have opted to use a process called wet screening. Under this technique, material types of various sizes are separated out while at the same time washed by a steady stream of water to remove loose sediment and rust. The additional washing makes the identification of small artifacts easier and speeds up the overall screening process.   

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Mail Call!

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Jeff Johnston at the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary just forwarded this information to me.  I’m not sure how Google’s auto mailing system works, but somehow it decided to send an advertising postcard to the sanctuary office that was addressed to William Jeffers, Monitor‘s second appointed commander!

I hope Google doesn’t get too upset if he doesn’t respond to them…after all Jeffers passed away 128 years ago!!   Read more