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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


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!

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.


15 JUN

Summer on USS Monitor

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

Saturday, June 15, 2019 · 2:30 PM – 3:30 PM

In support of the 1862 Peninsula Campaign, the ironclad USS Monitor spent that extremely hot and humid
summer on the James River. The vessel was guarding against any possible excursion by the ironclad CSS
Richmond. Monitor‘s crew suffered terribly from the heat. Crew member George Geer noted temperatures
throughout the ship “were just intolerable: 110 degrees in the storeroom, 127 degrees in the engine room, 155 degrees
in the galley, and 85 degrees on the berth deck.” The ventilation system was inadequate to bring sufficient fresh air
into the iron vessel. The officers and crew suffered beyond compare in their floating Hades on the James.

RSVP Here


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.”

RSVP Here


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 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

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.

 


6 JUL

Monitor Archaeology: methods, finds, and hypotheses

Presented by Hannah Fleming, the Museum’s Material Culture Specialist

Saturday, July 6, 2019 · 10:30 AM & 2:30 PM

As more and more conservation projects are started, progressed, and finished, new questions, hypotheses, and details
are revealed. Join Hannah Fleming, the Conservation Department’s Material Culture Specialist for a recap of the
archaeological methods used to recover and excavate the USS Monitor, a discussion of the finds that have
influenced our understanding of the ship, and to hear hypotheses on oddities and occurrences found throughout the
project. From there, you are encouraged to make your own decisions about what actually happened on the
Monitor.

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