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Lectures

Our lectures cover a wide range of maritime topics. Catch a Maritime Connections staff lecture or Civil War Lecture by John Quarstein during the day. Experts and maritime authors lead lectures in the evenings. Maritime Connections staff lectures and Civil War Lectures are free with Museum admission. Evening lectures are $5 and free for members. RSVP for any of the lectures online to guarantee a spot.
Steven Callahan at The Mariners' Museum

Steven Callahan, American author and survivor of 76 days adrift at sea, speaking in 2014 at The Mariners’ Museum


Civil War Lectures

 

Please join John Quarstein, renowned historian and director emeritus of the USS Monitor Center, as he teaches about the intriguing maritime history of the Civil War. This long-running series explores the ships, personalities, technologies, and battles that would shape our nation for the next 150 years.

Civil War lectures are free with Museum admission, but reserving a seat is suggested as seating is limited. Reserve seats online –see each lecture below.

Become a Mariners’ Member
Attend select lectures for FREE!

To learn more about Member benefits like free admission to select lecture series programs, please visit MarinersMuseum.org/Membership.


13 JUL

CSS Hunley

Presented by John V. Quarstein, Director Emeritus, USS Monitor Center

Saturday, July 13, 2019 · 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

Originally known as Fish Boat, CSS H. L. Hunley was the first submarine to sink a warship. Even though this Confederate weapon sank twice during testing, Hunley was able to destroy the blockader USS Housatonic with its spar torpedo on February 17, 1864. Following the attack, Hunley sank, taking with it the submarine’s entire crew.

RSVP Here


10 AUG

The Siege of Port Hudson

Presented by John V. Quarstein, Director Emeritus, USS Monitor Center

Saturday, August 10, 2019 · 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

This siege was the final action associated with the Union’s effort to control the Mississippi River. Port Hudson was commanded by Gen. Franklin Gardner, where his gun emplacements overlooking the river defeated a portion of Adm. David Glasgow Farragut’s fleet on March 13, 1863. Union General Nathaniel Banks did not formally begin his operations until May 22, 1863. Banks’s first two assaults against the Confederate entrenchments failed, resulting in a siege that lasted until July 9, 1863, when Port Hudson surrendered. President Lincoln then said, the “Father of all rivers now flows unvexed into the sea.”

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14 SEP

Samuel Dana Greene, Hero of the USS Monitor

Presented by John V. Quarstein, Director Emeritus, USS Monitor Center

Saturday, September 14, 2019 · 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

An 1859 graduate of the US Naval Academy, Samuel Dana Greene was serving aboard USS Hartford when the Civil War erupted. Greene volunteered for service on USS Monitor and was named that ironclad’s executive officer. The young lieutenant commanded the turret during the Battle of Hampton Roads. Due to the wounding of Lt. John Worden at the end of the engagement, Greene was named Monitor’s commander for one day but was later replaced by Lt. Thomas O. Selfridge Jr. Greene continued to serve in the Navy until he committed suicide in 1884, reportedly brought on by his service on Monitor.

RSVP Here


12 OCT

Failed Union Monitors

Presented by John V. Quarstein, Director Emeritus, USS Monitor Center

Sunday, October 12, 2019 · 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

FREE with $1 Museum admission

USS Monitor’s success in Hampton Roads in March 1862 prompted the US Navy to order additional monitors, including the Passaic-class. While the Passaic and other subsequent classes like the Canonicus-class helped the Union enforce the blockade, there were several other designs that proved to be major failures. Alban Stimers produced USS Casco and 20 other sister ships beginning in 1864. The Casco design was seriously flawed and these ironclads were pronounced unseaworthy. These monitors could not mount a turret and all were scrapped after the war. Several other monitor modified designs were attempted in the rush to defeat the Confederacy with many of them considered failures.

The lecture will be held in a classroom in the Monitor Center. Reserving a seat is suggested as seating is limited.

RSVP Here


9 NOV

Robert Smalls and CSS Planter

Presented by John V. Quarstein, Director Emeritus, USS Monitor Center

Saturday, November 9, 2019 · 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

FREE with $1 Museum admission

On the evening of May 13, 1862, enslaved wheelman Robert Smalls disguised himself as CSS Planter’s captain and slipped past five Confederate forts to surrender to the Union blockade ship USS Onward off Charleston, S.C. He took his family and several other crew members’ families behind Union lines to help attain their freedom. Smalls then served the Union as a pilot on Planter as well as on other ships such as the ironclad USS Keokuk. After the war he served three terms in Congress and was one of South Carolina’s leading African American citizens until his death in 1915.

The lecture will be held in a classroom in the Monitor Center. Reserving a seat is suggested as seating is limited.

RSVP Here


14 DEC

Major General John Bankhead Magruder

Presented by John V. Quarstein, Director Emeritus, USS Monitor Center

Saturday, December 14, 2019 · 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

FREE with $1 Museum admission

Known as “Prince John” for his courtly manners and flamboyant dress, Major General John Bankhead Magruder achieved great fame for his defense of the Virginia Peninsula in 1861 and 1862 against tremendous odds. He became known as the “Master of Ruses and Strategy.”

The lecture will be held in a classroom in the Monitor Center. Reserving a seat is suggested as seating is limited.

RSVP Here

Lecture Dates & Titles

Lectures cover a wide range of maritime topics and are presented by nationally and internationally recognized authors, filmmakers, historians, scientists and other experts in their fields. Author lectures are followed by a book signing. Books are available in the Museum Shop and may be purchased either the night of the lecture or in advance online.

Tickets are required for all evening lectures

  • Adult and child tickets are $5 each.
  • Mariners’ Museum Member tickets are free.

Lectures begin at 7:00 PM  •  Doors open at 6:15 PM

Open for dinner before evening lectures!

Full menu is available from 5:00 PM – 7:00 PM. Grab a meal, snack or cup of coffee before the lecture begins.  View the menu

Unless otherwise noted, lectures are held in the Main Lobby of The Mariners’ Museum and Park.

Become a Mariners’ Member
Attend select lectures for FREE!

To learn more about Member benefits like free admission to select lecture series programs, please visit MarinersMuseum.org/Membership.

Special thanks to our lecture sponsors:

Virginia Health Services logo
WHRO Public Media logo
Hunnicutt Lecture Fund logo

Notice About Reservations:

Members will receive free admission to our Lecture Series Programs with reservation. Reservations will be accepted online until 4:00 PM on the day of the lecture as well as available at the door. When placing a reservation over the telephone, leaving a voicemail does not guarantee that your reservation has been accepted. Reserved seating will be held until 6:55 PM (or 5 minutes before the program begins), afterwards seats will be available to all guests.


Please check back later for our list of Fall lectures and dates!

Hampton Roads History

 

Join John V. Quarstein, a noted historian, author, and director emeritus of USS Monitor Center, in a new lecture series as he dives into significant events in our nation’s history and examines their direct ties to the Hampton Roads region.

These lectures will be held on select Saturdays, and will be located upstairs in the Monitor Center Classrooms.

Hampton Roads History Lectures are free with $1 Museum admission, but reserving a seat is suggested as seating is limited. Reserve seats online – see each lecture below.

Become a Mariners’ Member
Attend select lectures for FREE!

To learn more about Member benefits like free admission to select lecture series programs, please visit MarinersMuseum.org/Membership.


28 SEP

Battle of the Capes

Presented by John V. Quarstein, Director Emeritus, USS Monitor Center

Saturday, September 28, 2019 · 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

On September 5, 1781, the fate of Lord Cornwallis’s army stationed at Yorktown, Virginia, was sealed by the Battle of the Capes. A British fleet, commanded by Rear Admiral Sir Thomas Graves, failed to dislodge a larger French fleet guarding the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay that was commanded by Comte de Grasse. Graves’s inability to take advantage of several tactical opportunities resulted in the isolation of Cornwallis and his eventual surrender.

RSVP Here


16 NOV

Operation Torch

Presented by John V. Quarstein, Director Emeritus, USS Monitor Center

Saturday, November 16, 2019 · 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

“Operation Torch” was the first Anglo-American amphibious invasion of World War II. It was meant to open a second front against the Axis Powers in North Africa. The Western Task Force was comprised of troops commanded by General George Patton with Rear Admiral Henry Hewitt in charge of the naval forces. This attack force, including 34,000 men and 86 million tons of supplies, left Hampton Roads on October 24, 1942. The Western Task Force landed in French Morocco on November 8, 1942. The attack was the largest overseas invasion force to leave the US during the war and was eventually successful in driving the Axis out of North Africa.

RSVP Here


Maritime Connections

 

This is a new lecture series presented by The Mariners’ Museum and Park staff. Go behind the scenes of the Museum and explore our collection while learning about the work we do. This series will explore the ways our staff cares for our collection, designs our exhibits, brings objects to life, and helps us all to connect with the world’s waters. These lectures will be held on the first Saturday of each month.

Maritime Connections lectures are free with Museum admission, but seating is limited.

Become a Mariners’ Member
Attend select lectures for FREE!

To learn more about Member benefits like free admission to select lecture series programs, please visit MarinersMuseum.org/Membership.

 


3 AUG

A Look Back

Presented by Erica Deale, Park Stewardship Coordinator

Saturday, August 3, 2019 · 10:30 AM & 2:30 PM

The history of The Mariners’ Museum Park dates back almost 100 years. However, most of the progress was made in just the first five. The Mariners’ Park Erica Deale will discuss the original visions for the Park and the realities of completion during the Great Depression.


7 SEP

School’s Back in Session!

Presented by Andrea Rocchio, Science Educator

Lecture begins at 10:30 AM & 2:30 PM

Free with Museum admission, but seating is limited

Catch up with Andrea Rocchio, Science Educator at The Mariners’ Museum and Park, and learn about how the new student science programs are connecting to our unique Museum, Park, and the greater community.