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Speakers Bureau

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Connections Through Continued Learning

The Speakers Bureau at The Mariners’ Museum and Park is composed of staff and experienced volunteers who bring vastness, importance, and energy of maritime topics and initiatives to groups throughout Hampton Roads area. We invite you to connect with us either in person or online! 

There is no charge for this community service in the Hampton Roads area. However, donations are gratefully accepted and support the mission of the Museum. For groups outside the Hampton Roads area, a small fee will be accessed to cover travel costs.

We are happy to work with you to customize your experience to meet the needs of your group!

African American Medal of Honor Recipients
and the Integration of the US Navy

Presenter: Ed Moore

At the outbreak of the American Civil Wa,r Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles needed sailors to carry out his blockade of the South. Though already long integrated, Welles eliminated the long established quota system for sailors by race, enabling African Americans to become one-in-six of American Naval personnel. Eight of these men were awarded the Medal of Honor for dramatic heroism in battle.

Africans and African Americans in the Maritime World

Presenter: Wisteria Perry

Discover the influences of Africans and African Americans across the centuries and throughout the maritime world.

Egypt in Africa

Presenter: Erika Cosme

Ancient Egyptians as part of African and Black history is one of the most polarized ongoing debates. Present day scientists, historians, and authors alike, along with those who advocate for and study Black, African, and African American history and culture have all contemplated the correlation of Egyptian/African culture. Egypt in Africa explores the modern-day question and conversation that asks: are Egyptians black? The program does not aim to answer the question, but rather introduces how this topic became a discussion. By comparing ancient texts and images to modern scientific findings, this discussion aims to help further understand the relationship of Ancient Egyptians to modern African and Black culture and history.

Waters of Hope and Despair: African Americans and the Chesapeake Bay

Presenter: Wisteria Perry

Discover the major influences and impact that Africans and African Americans have had on the Chesapeake Bay since the early 1600s through today.

Doris “Dorie” Miller: An American Hero

Presenter: Ed Moore

The events of Pearl Harbor are among our nation’s darkest moments in history. In the face of danger, Doris “Dorie” Miller, an African American sailor, stepped up and defended his country in a way no person of color in the US Navy had done before. His actions earned him honors and recognition, which we still remember today in film and ships which bear his name. Dorie Miller’s heroic story looks at the segregated Navy of the past, and represents how his actions helped spur the integration of the US Navy.

Carthage: Empire of Africa

Presenter: Erika Cosme

Discover the connection between an ancient and modern city. Along the Mediterranean coast in North Africa sits the Republic of Tunisia. Although a small country today, Tunisia’s role in maritime history has been significant. Why? Because this area was once home to the great city of Carthage. As a major port, Carthage was at the epicenter for trade and commerce in the ancient world. But like ancient Egypt, the continued influx of European and Eurasian cultures heavily influenced how Tunisia developed within the African continent and has impacted modern views in the African and Black communities in the country.

Spend a While on the Nile

Presenter: Erika Cosme

Often associated with the ancient Egyptians, the Nile has provided and supported life throughout many countries in Africa. It is connected to several other major bodies of water, and has impacted the development of African cultures for thousands of years. Set out as we present on one of the world’s fascinating wonders that has been a source of life for centuries.

Nilotic People of Africa

Presenter: Erika Cosme

The Nile River has long provided resources for humans to cultivate within Africa. Nilotes are one of several cultures which have made their homes and livelihood along the Nile region. For thousands of years, they have migrated along the Nile’s tributaries, populating the African landscape. “Nilotic Peoples of Africa” delves into the cultures, traditions, and practices of many of these tribal groups, and how they are viewed in our world today.

Along Africa’s Swahili Coast

Presenter: Wisteria Perry

Stretching 1,800 miles down the eastern coast and with its Indigenous African, Middle Eastern and Asian influences, the Swahili coast has been a place of historical, cultural, economic, and political interactions and exchanges for thousands of years.

Sea of Sand: Traversing the Trans-Saharan Trade Routes

Presenter: Wisteria Perry

Discover how these once ancient routes connected much of North and West Africa to the rest of the known world through desert sands and surrounding waterways

Antoine-Ignace Melling: Deciphering Curious Travel Book Paintings

Presenter: Jennifer Hackney

Our museum holds a collection of 10 original watercolor paintings that were used for engravings in a 19th Century travel book of Constantinope and the Bosporus. This travel book was a sensation and was ultimately purchased by kings, queens, and dignitaries all over Europe. Providing a unique view of Constantinople that was quite different from other European travelers and artists, this book quickly became a sensation. Discover what made these paintings unique, and how some ended up in the court of Napoleon and Josephine!

Europe Travelogue 1920s-1930s

Presenter: Sarah Puckitt

All armchair travelers are invited to join Curator of Photography Sarah Scruggs on a journey to several European cities between the World Wars. As a writer and photographer, Edward Hungerford (1875-1948) was passionate about trains. He produced his first pageant in 1927 for the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad company and six other transportation themed pageants would follow. He traveled extensively and found ways to get articles published. His collection of more than 6,000 negatives includes travels to Europe, Canada and other countries, in addition to the United States.

Romanticism and Commercial Patriotism in the Art of the Battle of Hampton Roads

Presenter: Kyra Duffley

While mostly associated with France, the artistic movement of Romanticism can be seen in the way in which the American Civil War was depicted in commercial art and print media. Focusing on prints depicting the Battle of Hampton Roads, this art-based program will be a discussion of the importance and influence of commercial prints and printmaking as well as the illustrated news during the Civil War to not only tell eyewitness accounts and create a commercialized patriotism, but also to make the Civil War the first “illustrated” war.

The History of the Museum Through Photographs

Presenter: Brock Switzer

The Mariners’ Museum and Park continues to connect people to the world’s waters since its inception in 1930. From a creek to a lake and from one small room to over 90,000 square feet of gallery space, explore the history of the #1 attraction in Newport News through photographs.

From the Dugout Canoe to the Carolina Skiff: The Evolution of Chesapeake Bay Workboats

Presenter: Dr. Paul Ewell

This presentation chronicles the workboats of the Chesapeake Bay from the early days of the log canoe through the era of modern fiberglass boats used by working watermen. Vessels featured include the pungy, pilot schooner, bugeye, skipjack, scow, buyboat, deadrise, and others. The presentation includes many photos depicting each type of boat and the fisheries in which it worked.

The Life and Times of an Eastern Shore Commercial Fishing Family

Presenter: Dr. Paul Ewell

The culture of the Eastern Shore of Virginia is one based on the age-old occupations of farming and fishing. Dr. Ewell recounts his childhood growing up on the Eastern Shore of Virginia in a working waterman family. He includes a discussion of the vessels his family worked and the different fisheries his family participated in as well as some great stories about the life of a poor fishing family in an equally poor fishing family.

Governor Cameron Wages War on the Eastern Shore of Virginia

Presenter: Dr. Paul Ewell

When most people think about the Chesapeake Bay oyster wars they often think about the battles that occurred between the states of Virginia and Maryland back and forth across the state line where the property was destroyed and lives were lost. Another (and lesser-known but just as exciting) series of battles pitted the Western Shore of the Chesapeake against the Eastern Shore. This is a presentation about the intra-state struggle within Virginia and involves daring Virginia oystermen from both shores, a governor of Virginia engaged in political struggles, and a couple of elusive pirate brides!

A Case for Character: Leadership Lessons
Learned from a 19th- century Eastern Shore Schooner Captain

Presenter: Dr. Paul Ewell

Captain Leonard S. Tawes was born on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, eventually settled in Crisfield, Maryland, and built a successful career as a coasting schooner captain hauling freight from Canada to South America and myriad destinations in between. While 19th Century ship captains were not especially known for always employing the most ethical leadership tactics, Capt. Tawes was a not so insignificant exception. A study of his life (much of it based on his own personal journal) reveals a leader who was highly successful in his industry and yet was known as being a kind, honest, and caring Eastern Shoreman. This presentation chronicles Capt. Len’s lifelong career, impeccable character, and tremendous success both as a master navigator and successful businessman.

Ancient Ships & Seafaring in the Mediterranean

Presenter: Erika Cosme

The Mediterranean Sea played a major role in early sea trade and travel. Primitive boat designs evolved into more sophisticated vessels that could travel farther and faster across larger bodies of water. As this evolution occurred, populations grew, and empires were developed. Ancient Ships and Seafaring in the Mediterranean introduces early boat development, popular cities and ports of trade, typical items exchanged, and the peoples who were involved in the growth of commerce around the Mediterranean Sea.

Are We the Vikings?

Presenter: Ron Lewis

Before the Age of Exploration early European explorers travelled to North America, among them the Vikings. But where, exactly, did they land? Where did they come from? How did they live? And where did they go after a couple of centuries of notoriety? During this interactive presentation, we’ll examine the myths and facts, learn how to write Viking runes, and, most importantly, decide whether WE are the Vikings!

Portuguese Voyages of Discovery Before the Age of Exploration

Presenter: Ron Lewis

What led to the era we call the Age of Exploration? There was no single factor but the Portuguese have long maintained supremacy in the history of European expansion into the four corners of the globe. This program examines the factors that spurred man’s thirst for discovery. You’ll learn of explorers such as Prince Henry “the Navigator”, and young Cristoforo Colon, the poster child for the great Age of Exploration.

Setting the Stage for an Age of Exploration

Presenter: Wisteria Perry

The Age of Exploration did not happen by chance. It was the product of an international trade system, birthed by centuries of cultural exchange. There was a web of political, economic, and cultural relationships, as well as the mythology and rumors, which inspired 15th-century Europeans to explore the globe.

Thymely Tips: A History of Spices That Spurred the Age of Exploration

Presenter: Wisteria Perry

Learn the origin of extravagant and exotic spices that we now consider commonplace and how that need led to the expansion of European exploration.

Escape from Fremantle: The Catalpa Rescue

Presenter: Erika Cosme

The Catalpa was not your ordinary 19th century whaling ship. It played a pivotal role in the daring rescue of six Irish prisoners from one of the world’s toughest prisons. After discovering a piece of the ship hidden in the museum’s collection, Erika Cosme recounts the audacious voyage of the Catalpa vessel and its crew.

Exxon Valdez vs. Bligh Reef

Presenter: Dan Wood

This is the story of how an accident in which no ships sank and no people died became one of the most iconic maritime disasters of all time. Ultimately it cost the Exxon Corporation over 3.5 billion dollars, and generated a world-wide tidal wave of new and changed laws, practices, awareness, and attitudes regarding the production and movement of petroleum products in the maritime environment.

RMS Lusitania: Casualty of War

Presenter: Erika Cosme

It was a time when traveling the seas was a combination of luxury and speed. Ships like RMS Lusitania were the pride of their nations. But the onset of WWI in 1914 would go on to impact the entire globe. Though America was determined to stay neutral, acts of unrestricted submarine warfare by the German Empire would eventually bring them into the war. Erika Cosme discusses how Lusitania disaster became one of the first events that would eventually draw our nation into the global conflict.

The Death and Resurrection of the Mary Rose

Presenter: Dan Wood

On July 19th, 1545, King Henry VII watched from ashore as the Mary Rose, one of his mightiest warships, led the English Fleet to meet a much larger invading French armada. As she approached the enemy, Mary Rose unexpectedly heeled to one side and promptly sank, carrying several hundred sailors and Soldiers to sudden death. Horrible and tragic as this was, it resulted in an extraordinary time capsule which preserved a vast trove of hitherto unknown details about the ships of the Tudor era, their armament, their crew, and even a dog that lived onboard. The wreck was discovered in 1971, raised in 1982, and today is the centerpiece of an extraordinary museum that should be on the “bucket list” of every naval history enthusiast.

The Great Halifax Explosion

Presenter: Dan Wood

The little-known story of what is arguably the most devastating man-made explosion ever to occur prior to the nuclear age. Deep in the unusually cold and stormy winter of 1918, a ship full of unstable military explosives exploded in the harbor of Halifax, Nova Scotia. In an instant, almost 11,000 people were killed or injured, and over 30,000 more were left homeless or inadequately sheltered on the eve of a monumental blizzard. The subsequent relief operations featured a massive response from individuals and organizations in the United States, radically changing relationships and perceptions between the people of the US and Canada.

Titanic: Fate and Fortune

Presenter: Wisteria Perry

Built of iron and designed for unsurpassed luxury and comfort, the RMS Titanic set sail on her maiden voyage in April 1912. Yet she was not able to completed that first trip. Join The Mariners’ Museum and Park as we examine the facts and fiction surrounding this remarkable vessel and the disaster that brought about her final end. As told through the stories and images of some of her passengers and crew, we will take a glimpse at how three classes of passengers traveled on the once mighty ship, and how this famous maritime disaster helped bring about the changes that still affect modern day safety at sea.

Tragedy on the Mississippi

Presenter: Brock Switzer

April of 1865 stands as one of the most important months in the history of the United States of America. From decisive battles to high profile surrenders that led to the end of the Civil War, assassination attempts to the capture of conspirators and the death of a traitor, it stands as little wonder that the sinking of a Mississippi steamer would pass with little note. That steamer was the Sultana and it stands to this day as the single greatest maritime disaster in U.S. history. Explore the events of its demise and the reasons it went unnoticed.

RMS Carpathia

Presenter: Erika Cosme

When the RMS Titanic sank in 1912, the survivors were eventually rescued by another ship. RMS Carpathia’s story is often overshadowed by larger, more majestic ships of the day. Its legacy is best known as the ship that rescued Titanic passengers. Years before and after Titanic’s demise, Carpathia was in service as a passenger liner and served during World War I. Learn more about the RMS Carpathia’s life before, during, and after the tragic event which occurred in April 1912.

Forgotten Faces of Titanic

Presenter: Wisteria Perry

When the tragic tale of the Titanic is told, we often focus on the famous names: Astor, Guggenheim, and Straus. But among the thousands who sailed on that fateful voyage, there are many stories that are overlooked. Hear stories of those passengers from all over the world, including China, Haiti, and Egypt.

Ancient Waters: Greek Myths, Tales and Legends

Presenter: Erika Cosme

The Ancient Greeks were among the first people to venture out into the seas and waters known to the ancient world. Many of the characters and stories from their culture contain themes of water, and some of the greatest epic stories known to us still today take place throughout these waterways. From their history came mythological figures, tales of heroes, and mysteries of what wonders the waters held. Ancient Waters focuses on how the seas were viewed by the ancient Greeks, while introducing many central themes found in their stories, and a look at some of the deities that the Greeks feared and revered in their travels.

From the Motherland: The Legends and Tales of Africa

Presenter: Wisteria Perry

The continent of Africa is diverse with its own unique set of mythology, legends, and folktales that were inspired by the sea. Hear the stories and elements that shared between the cultures and that are still being told in today’s pop culture through movies and television.

Sirens & Shipwrecks

Presenter: Erika Cosme

As long as humans have gone to sea in ships, the potential for danger awaits them. Early seafarers had many myths and lore as to what – or who – was responsible for a ship’s demise, including the alluring siren. Today, we know that there are many reasons which may cause a ship to wreck. Sirens & Shipwrecks takes a look at the early connection of sirens luring men and ships to their death, while examining modern causes for shipwrecks at sea.

Admiral Dewey: An American Legend Born out of the Spanish American War

Presenter: Jennifer Hackney

The “splendid little war” that lasted only 4 months helped cement the United States as a Naval power and gave rise to the war hero of Admiral Dewey. Explore the history of this short conflict and the legend of Dewey through objects in the Mariners’ Museum collection.

Jack Tar On the Waterfront

Presenter: Ed Moore

“We Owe Allegiance To No Crown” spoke the American sailor during the Age of Revolution. The waterfront culture developing in Colonial America valued freedom of thought, freedom of travel, and freedom of lifestyle. Integrated by nationality, ethnicity and race, the Jack Tars challenged ideals, hierarchy and values, influencing first the waterfront then ultimately a society built on revolution and freedom.

John Paul Jones, Father of the American Navy

Presenter: Ed Moore

The ruthless American Naval hero of the Revolution had to fight his adopted nation – he was neither born in America nor was his last name Jones – for opportunity, recognition and command. Given his chance, he created the image of the fearless American Naval hero and brought the vaunted British Navy defeat and disgrace.

The Birth of Coast Guard (U.S. Coast Guard Roots and Fruits)

Presenter: Dan Wood

Today’s Coast Guard serves as both a maritime law enforcement agency and as one of our nation’s five armed services. It is a complex, multi-mission organization that has evolved through two centuries as various Federal agencies merged to combine their roles and resources. It traces its roots to the U.S. Revenue-Marine, established on August 4th, 1790 (although one of the agencies that later merged with it was actually established in 1789). This presentation will examine the milestones in the growth of the Coast Guard, the circumstances that brought them about, and their impact on the service’s missions and capabilities.

The Continental Navy

Presenter: Ed Moore

Even a patriot supporter called challenging the Royal Navy, “The maddest idea in the world.” Explores the decision behind creating a navy during the American Revolution, the effectiveness of the Continental Navy, and the decision to disband it after the war.

Torpedo Junction, the German U-Boat War on the American Coast

Presenter: Ed Moore

After Pearl Harbor, the United States Navy was sent to slow the Japanese in the Pacific, leaving the Atlantic Coast undefended from the German submarine onslaught. From Maine to Miami in the Atlantic, from Miami to New Orleans in the Gulf of Mexico, a few Coast Guard Cutters fought to slow the sinking of hundreds of Allied ships.

We Have Some Unfinished Business: the Prologue to the War of 1812

Presenter: Ron Lewis

Some believe the War of 1812 is the most controversial war in US History. It was fought at an unusual time. We were not prepared for it. There was no national consensus as to its necessity. The war was inconclusive, confusing and in some respects, pointless. Through sometimes brilliant strategies and alliances, we had secured our independence from Great Britain. Why now, just 25 years later, would we enter a second “war of independence?” We’ll explore the reasons for this conflict and challenge you to draw your own plan for response and retaliation to the British monarchy which, it seemed, might never release its grip on her Colonies.

Working for Victory: Women in World War I

Presenter: Erika Cosme

Women have always played a supporting roles during wartime. But it was WWI where they began moving from the background to the forefront of the war effort. The role they played changed how women were seen during times of combat including into the present.

Eastern Woodland Native Inhabitants

Presenter: Erika Cosme

The eastern portion of present day North America was home to indigenous populations long before the arrival of Europeans. These native inhabitants survived off the land and waters for generations. Learn about the different groups, how they lived, and life before the invasions of European powers. Eastern Woodland Native Inhabitants shares stories and provides background to indigenous people of North America’s eastern region.

Foodways of the Americas

Presenter: Wisteria Perry

Prior to October 12, 1492, the Americas, both north and south, were teeming with plants, crops, animals, and more that had sustained indigenous populations for thousands of years and continue to play a major role in American cuisine today.

A Doll’s Life: A Tale of Global Trade and Kalaallit Inuit Peoples

Presenter: Jennifer Hackney

What can a pair of dolls tell us about the indigenous people of Greenland? Quite a lot, actually. Uncover the traditional dress customs of the Kalaallit people and how they are influenced by international trade, while also discovering how “women’s magic” is instrumental in the survival of Circumpolar indigenous people.

A Wondrous Ocean of Words: An Exploration and Workshop of Maritime Poetry

Presenter: Andrea Rocchio

The expansive and largely undiscovered waters of our world have mystified and united cultures and communities for centuries. Vast oceans and waterways have inspired spirited poetry that acts as a unique portal into intriguing maritime narratives. Participants will also have an opportunity to write a short maritime-themed poem and share their own maritime stories through verse.

ARKitecture: Weathering Noah’s Storm

Presenter: Erika Cosme

Almost every culture has a version of a great flood that covers the earth in their anthology. Perhaps the most common version is the story of Noah and his ark, on which he brought two of every animal on board. But have you ever wondered not only what it would have taken to not only build a superstructure such as Noah’s Ark, but then to survive a great storm? Storms at sea, whether as part of lore or not, require skill and knowledge. Not only does the vessel need to be structurally sound, but you need to be prepared with supplies to help you withstand the storm for however long it lasts. ARKitecture uses the Great Flood story to show what went into their shipbuilding methods, especially those aspects which helped them prepare for, and survive a storm at sea.

Hidden Histories

Presenter: Wisteria Perry and Winston Favor

Come and discover all the ways we are connected to one another as we have uncovered some “Hidden Histories” within our Collection. With the help of the community and other sources, we are bringing recognition to individuals who were once unidentified and depicted in our collection but whose stories have not yet been told, including twenty-one African Americans who helped build the foundations of the Museum.

Money Makes the World go ‘Round: Ancient Greek Coinage

Presenter: Jennifer Hackney

The Lydians produced the first known government minted coins around 625 BCE, but it was soon after that Greeks followed suit. Explore the history and aesthetics of coinage specific to Ancient Greece while getting a closer look at some of the oldest items in the museum’s collection. There might even be a counterfeit coin in the mix!

Sea and Space: Exploration of the Deep

Presenter: Erika Cosme

The sea is deep, extending miles below the earth’s surface. Space is high above us, extending lightyears beyond our comprehension. So what could these two elements have in common? More than you think! Exploration of these two still relatively unknown worlds have shown that the depths of the oceans and reaches of space have their differences, but in some ways are similar too. Both of these places are still being explored, and we are learning more about them each day. Through the Sea and Space: Exploration of the Deep program, audiences will get a history of what scientists and explorers have discovered, gain a comparison and contrast between sea and space, and look into the future of what exploration of these two mysterious locations will be.

The China Flask: An Object’s Story Told in Three Acts

Presenter: Jennifer Hackney

How do Schnapps, porcelain, and the Prussian navy relate? Through a flask, of course! Find out how this curious and funny object in our collection came to be, and discover other related items in our museum’s collection.

The Hundred Year Race

Presenter: Dan Wood

For over a century, steamship companies from Europe and North America competed for a much-coveted prize that never officially existed: The “Blue Ribband”, claimed by the passenger ship with the fastest crossing of the North Atlantic Ocean. The list of title-holders is dominated by European ships, many of them truly legendary, but in the end it was the SS United States, built in Newport News, that set a record that has not been beaten by another transatlantic passenger ship since her maiden voyage in 1952.

The Tempestuous Autumn of 1867 on St. Croix and St. Thomas

Presenter: Andrea Rocchio

A hurricane, an earthquake, a tsunami, and a yellow fever epidemic struck the Caribbean Islands, including the islands of St. Croix and St. Thomas, during the autumn of 1867. These events offset the course of Virgin Island history for the next 50 years. Docked near off the shore of St. Croix was a former Civil War warship called the U.S.S. Monongahela, that had aboard a naval cutlass that is currently part of the Museum’s collection. During this talk, you will learn more about the story unveiled from the voice of our naval cutlass artifact, the geological conditions and evidence around the Caribbean Sea that led to the 1867 natural disasters, and the way we use art and stories to remember these tragic historical events to help us prepare for the future.

Wine

Presenter: Erika Cosme

Have you ever wondered how wine became a global phenomenon? Why are Italy, France, and California so well-known for their viniculture? UnWINEding Origins, introduces the earliest cultures who created wine, and how it spread to become a drink enjoyed by the masses.

Three Men and a Baby

Presenter: Erika Cosme

“We Three Kings of Orient are…” This is a popular Christmas song which tells a unique story of three wise men. But have you ever thought who these men really were? Enjoy this holiday based program which unveils some of the unknown roots of the story which inspired the song, plus discusses the geography and history of the world during their epic journey.

‘Gentlemen, Choose/Build Your Weapons’: Technology and the America’s Cup

Presenter: Jeanne Willoz-Egnor

Since 1851, the America’s Cup has been a story of advancing technology and innovation in yacht design. Learn about the advances made throughout the years and how they impacted the race and sailing industry.

One Helluva’ Comeback

Presenter: Jeanne Willoz-Egnor

Hear the story of the 2013 America’s Cup and how Oracle Team USA engineered the greatest come from behind win in sporting history.

Speed and Innovation in the America’s Cup

Presenter: Jeanne Willoz-Egnor

Since 1851, the America’s Cup has been a story of advancing technology and innovation in yacht design. Learn about specific groundbreaking advances made during the Cup’s history with a concentration on modern technological developments.

Blackbeard in the Americas

Presenter: Brandan Adams

One of the most feared pirates of the 18th century, Blackbeard wreaked havoc up and down the eastern seaboard of North America. But little is known about this historic figure. This presentation addresses the man, myth, and legend surrounding Blackbeard and his ties to the local Virginia and North Carolina area.

Fierce and Feminine: Female Pirates That Roamed the Seven Seas

Presenter: Wisteria Perry

Some joined due to necessity, others came seeking revenge, treasure, and fame. Uncover the stories behind some of history’s most famous and lesser-known pirate queens who ruled the seas.

The Colonial Republic of Pirates

Presenter: Ed Moore

As England, France and Spain contested Europe and the New World, a legion of men and women expert in sailing cut off the powers from their Caribbean holdings. Blackbeard, Calico Jack, Anne Bonny, Mary Read and a cast of thousands established the first Democratic Republic in the New World, reveling in their freedom and ability to wage warfare as professional thieves.

Beyond Shackles: The Fight for Freedom

Presenter: Wisteria Perry

By the mid-nineteenth century, not all African Americans were enslaved. Some were free, some were abolitionists and spies, and some were part of the Underground Railroad. Others became the first African Americans to contribute and serve aboard the US Navy’s first ironclad, the USS Monitor.

Civil War Naval Operations in Virginia’s Waters

Presenter: Dan Wood

The battle of Hampton Roads, culminating in the well-known and misnamed fight between the Monitor and Merrimac (actually USS Monitor and CSS Virginia), is an important highlight of this presentation, but it also covers the whole scope of naval operations in our area, from the Virginia capes to Drewry’s bluff and beyond.

Clyde-Built Confederates

Presenter: Dan Wood

The Confederate States entered the Civil war with no navy, and minimal ability to build one. To counter the rapidly expanding Union (United States) Navy, they were dependent on foreign support. Over 25,000 Scottish shipyard workers in at least 28 Scottish shipyards (plus several Scot-owned yards in England) built up to half of all Civil War blockade runners (including the majority of the most successful ones, plus most of the foreign-built warships intended for Confederate service. Up to 3,000 Scottish sailors served the Confederate cause.

Fortifying History: European Ironclad Development

Presenter: Erika Cosme

In a battle of wooden ships versus iron ships, there is no contest – iron is supreme. The Battle of Ironclads in 1862 was a momentous event. But how did history get to this point? Encasing a ship in iron by the time the American Civil War began was not a new idea, but it was an improved one. This programs chronologies history’s development from wooden vessels to the early iron ships of the 19th century that went on to change navies throughout the globe.

Hunley: The Submarine That Made History

Presenter: Erika Cosme

War – what is it good for? While some would say “absolutely nothing,” that is not necessarily true. History has proven that technological advancements are a development of warfare. The American Civil War saw many of these advancements, such as the ironclad ship USS Monitor and its turret. During this time period, down in South Carolina, another vessel made history below the water’s surface. It was a submarine called Hunley. But to this day, a great mystery surrounds the story of the submarine and its demise. Learn how the Hunley became the first submarine to sink a ship during war and discover the mystery behind what ultimately happened to the vessel and its crew.

The Other Ironclads

Presenter: Dan Wood

Almost everyone knows about the Monitor and Merrimac (or, more correctly, the Monitor and Virginia), but many people know little of the hundred or more other ironclad vessels which served on both sides in the American Civil War. This presentation explores the fascinating and sometimes bizarre story of these largely forgotten ironclads, along with “tinclads”, “timberclads” and other improvised armored craft.

Harriet Tubman: Conductor, Spy, “General”

Presenter: Laurie King

Harriet Tubman is most commonly known for her actions as a conductor in the Underground Railroad, repeatedly crossing into slave territory to lead enslaved friends and families to freedom. However, this is only one part of Tubman’s life. Between her work as an abolitionist and humanitarian, and serving as a nurse, scout and spy for the Union Army, Tubman spent her life fighting for freedom and justice. Join us as we delve into the life of Harriet Tubman and explore the endeavors of this American heroine.

Women of the Chesapeake Bay

Presenter: Wisteria Perry

The lives of women have always been an integral component of the story about life on the estuaries that make up Tidewater Virginia. Using artifacts, documents, and illustrations from the museum’s collection, hear the stories of women’s contributions to the communities, economy, transportation, and culture of the Chesapeake Bay.

Working for Victory: Women in World War I

Presenter: Erika Cosme

Women have always played a supporting roles during wartime. But it was WWI where they began moving from the background to the forefront of the war effort. The role they played changed how women were seen during times of combat including into the present.

“This is my war too!” The Women’s Army Corps during World War II

Presenter: Laurie King

The Women’s Army Corps (WAC) was formed at the beginning of World War II, as the United States realized the need for more service members. While not allowed to participate in combat themselves, the WAC’s motto was “free up a man to fight” by stepping into the support roles, such as switchboard operator, mechanic, and much more. Over “this many” WACs served at the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation, and even more shipped out via HRPE to serve overseas. Join us to explore the lives of servicewomen on the peninsula during WWII.

“We can do it!” Women’s War Effort during World War II

Presenter: Laurie King

When the United States joined World War II, every available hand was needed. While period gender roles may have prevented women from serving equitably to men, many women lent their time and energy to aid the war effort. Some joined military service groups, like the Women’s Army Corps and the Army Nurse Corps. Others volunteered with their local Red Cross or USO group. The Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation saw thousands of women volunteering through these groups and more. Join us as we explore the lives of military and civilian women on the peninsula during World War II.

Contact Us

MaryAnn Steinmiller
Group Experiences Coordinator
grouptours@MarinersMuseum.org
(757) 591-7731

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