Lecture Series

One of the premiere lecture series in Hampton Roads, The Mariners’ Museum Lecture Series offers Museum members and Hampton Roads residents dynamic and memorable stories of mankind’s relationship with the sea. The Lecture Series has grown and now presents approximately 10 lectures each year designed to enlighten and engage curious minds with thought-provoking topics and meaningful dialogue.


Unless noted, Lecture Series events are held in the Main Lobby of the Mariners’ Museum at 100 Museum Drive, Newport News, VA. Lectures begin at 7:00 P.M. and doors open at 6:15 P.M.

Each lecture features a presentation by the author, a Q&A with the audience and book signing.

All lectures below are free and open to the public. Mariners’ Museum Members can make a seating reservation by calling (757) 591-7715 or using the online reservation links below. Reservations are not required, but encouraged. General Admission seating is available for non-Members.

Author’s books are sold in the Museum Shop and will be available the evening of the lecture. For more information, please call the Museum Shop at (757) 591-7792.

For general questions regarding the Lecture Series, please call (757) 591-7749.

View the Civil War lecture Series.

Thanks to Lecture Sponsors:
The Mariners' Museum Lecture Series is made possible, in part, by support from:

  • Peninsula Community Foundation of Virginia
  • The Tom & Ann Hunnicutt Lecture Fund
  • PNC Bank
  • Newport News Arts Commission

Peninsula Community Foundation of Virginia logo

The Tom & Ann Hunnicutt Lecture Fund logo

PNC Bank logo

Newport News Arts Commission





2014 Lecture Dates & Titles:
Date: Title: Author:
Wednesday, Aug 27 How Chessie the Sea Serpent Swam into the Heart of the Chesapeake Dr. Eric Cheezum
Wednesday, Sept 17 The Collection: The Life of Tattoo Artist Cap Coleman Chuck Eldridge


Wednesday, August 27 • 7:00 pm

Look Outside, the Loch Ness Monster is Going Down the River! How Chessie the Sea Serpent Swam into the Heart of the Chesapeake
Dr. Eric Cheezum

Book cover "Chessie: A Chesapeake Bay Story" coloring bookChessie: A Chesapeake Bay Story

In 1978, Virginians along the Northern Neck started seeing a strange, snakelike animal undulating up and down the Potomac River and its tributaries. Over the next two years, the monster made repeat visits to the region, before migrating into the Chesapeake Bay and becoming a regional icon.

Was it a plesiosaur? A giant anaconda? A floating log? An optical illusion? Dubbed “Chessie,” the Bay’s very own “sea monster” became something of a local celebrity.

Dr. Eric Cheezum’s talk will discuss the origins of the “monster” in Virginia, before following it on its voyage into Maryland. Cheezum will speculate on the possible explanations – zoological and cultural – for the creature, and chart its rise as a veritable, if not verifiable, celebrity in the 1980s.

After a few years of repeated sightings, the incidents gradually tapered off; Chessie sightings have only been reported a handful of times in the past two decades. Nonetheless, Chessie has been the subject of more than three decades of theory, fantasy and speculation.


 Members, reserve your seats online for this lecture or call
(757) 591-7715

Photo of Eric CheezumDr. Eric Cheezum

About the Speaker

Dr. Eric Cheezum is a native of Maryland’s Eastern Shore and an instructor at Chesapeake College in Maryland. His 2007 Ph.D. thesis is entitled Discovering Chessie: Waterfront, Regional Identity, and the Chesapeake Bay Sea Monster, 1960-2000. His research investigates not only the origins of the Chessie legend, but also the many ways that the Chesapeake Bay’s culture has helped the stories to take hold.


 Wednesday, September 17 • 7:00 pm

The Collection: The Life of Tattoo Artist Cap Coleman
Chuck Eldridge

Coleman Place TattooingColeman Place Tattooing

What do you picture when you think about tattoos? Sailors? Bad boys? Or the waiter who just served you, with his arm completely covered in ink? While previously associated with sailors, tattoos are now a widely accepted form of body art. The Mariners’ Museum got started in collecting everything associated with tattoo - photos, tattoo stencils, tattoo instruments - when the major association was with sailors. The collection today is a major part of popular culture.

On Wednesday September 17 at 7 p.m., the Friends of the Mariners’ Museum Library will present a lecture by Chuck Eldridge, Pops, and Kathy Maguire on tattoos around the world and right here at home. Mr. Eldgridge will speak on the history of tattooing. Pops and Kathy Maguire will follow with a talk based on their book, The Collection. The Collection is the story of the career of Norfolk tattoo artist extraordinaire August B. "Cap" Coleman. The lecture and book signing will also coincide with a tattoo exhibition in The Mariners’ Museum Library at Christopher Newport University that runs from September 15 - December 2014.


 Members, reserve your seats online for this lecture or call
(757) 591-7715

Photo of Chuck EldridgeChuck Eldridge

About the Speaker

Chuck Eldridge has contributed to previous tattoo exhibits at the Museum and is the founder of the Tattoo Archive (tattooarchive.com), one of the largest collections of tattoo material in the United States. Kathy Maguire and Pops own and manage Modern Tattoo in Chicago, and are authors of The Collection: A Book of Vintage Tattoo Stencils and Flash of August “Cap” Coleman.



Find additional resources on these subjects and more at The Mariners’ Museum Library at Christopher Newport University. Information on the Museum Library – the largest maritime library in the Western Hemisphere – can be found at www.marinersmuseum.org/library