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Conservation is the Foundation of Our Mission

Batten Conservation Complex

Our Collections-based, Community-focused strategy is impossible to execute without ensuring the preservation of our Museum Collections, including the Living Collection. We care for these precious artifacts and natural resources so that generation after generation of mariners can connect to our shared maritime heritage. The Batten Conservation Complex boasts a dedicated team whose expertise is critical to preserving our environmental and cultural heritage and creating innovative technologies and treatments that expand our collective knowledge of the maritime world.

Areas of Conservation


We take great pride in caring for our Living Collection within Mariners’ Park through ongoing environmental conservation efforts. Our 550-acre urban oasis contains land, water, and wildlife  creating what we lovingly call our “Living Collection.” A few of our environmental conservation efforts include continuous research, forest management, water quality testing, and wildlife habitat restoration. We are grateful for our community partners who help us preserve this valued resource so that future generations can continue to be inspired by the flora and fauna that live here. 

man planting tree
conservator working on a paper artifact

Cultural Heritage 

One of the best ways we steward our mission at The Mariners’ is by preserving our cultural heritage. The stories contained within our artifacts can be told by understanding the cultures from which they came. Conserving these artifacts allows us to discover their true stories and physically connect with the people who used these objects. Cultural heritage conservation gives us the unique opportunities to dive into the traditions, tell the stories, connect to the people, and allow future generations to experience these fascinating stories from all over the world throughout history. 

USS Monitor

The USS Monitor project is just one part of the Cultural Heritage Conservation efforts taking place at The Mariners’. More than 200 tons of archaeological material was recovered from the wreck of USS Monitor. We are the proud caretakers of the objects and are their official repository as designated by the US government. Our team continues to conserve and preserve Monitor’s revolving gun turret, Dahlgren guns, steam engine, plus many more objects from the ship. Materials conserved range from iron and copper to wood, rope, and rubber, each needing specific treatment strategies. Some items are large enough to stand inside, like Monitor’s turret, and others would fit in your hand, like coat buttons. All help to tell the story of Monitor from its creation, to the Battle of Hampton Roads, to the men who served on the ironclad, to the tragic sinking off of Cape Hatteras.

conservators putting straps around USS Monitor's Dahlgren guns to lift it out of its tank

Be a part of history!

You can support our unique Collections by helping us to preserve and conserve these precious artifacts for the enjoyment and education of future generations!

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