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Lectures

Our lectures cover a wide range of maritime topics. Catch a Maritime Connections lecture by our staff or a Civil War Lecture by John Quarstein during the day. Or attend an evening lecture led by experts and maritime authors.

Maritime Connections Lectures and Civil War Lectures are free with Museum admission. Evening lectures are $5 per person, and free for Members.

RSVP for any of the lectures online to guarantee a spot, as seating can be limited.

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.


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.

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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 6:00 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.


12 SEP

The Ghost Ships of Archangel

The Arctic Voyage That Defied the Nazis

Presented by William Geroux

FREE for Members, $5 for guests

Lecture begins at 7:00 PM

William Geroux, author of The Mathews Men, returns to the Museum to share yet another emotionally gripping maritime history, The Ghost Ships of Archangel. In 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Winston Churchill agreed to send Joseph Stalin’s army supplies in hopes of bolstering the Russians until a European invasion could be mounted. That June, the 35 cargo ships of convoy PQ 17 set sail for the Soviet port of Archangel, carrying $1 billion worth of war materiel. Days later, the fleet was ordered to disband, quickly becoming prey for the Nazis. This extraordinary tale of survival and shifting alliances during World War II, traces the nightmarish voyage of four Allied ships into the ice floes of the North Pole.

A veteran journalist, Geroux wrote for the Richmond Times-Dispatch for 25 years. His work has appeared in The New York Times and The Associated Press. A graduate of the College of William and Mary, he lives in Virginia Beach.
 
To purchase The Ghost Ships of Archangel today, click here! (shop link: https://shop.marinersmuseum.org/)

RSVP Here


3 OCT

The First American Coloring Book(s)

Theodore de Bry – America: The Complete Plates, 1590-1602

Presented by Larry E. Tise

FREE for Members, $5 for guests

Lecture begins at 7:00 PM

On a trip to London in 1588, renowned engraver Theodore de Bry met artist John White and mathematician Thomas Harriot, both recently returned from Sir Walter Raleigh’s mission to explore the “new found land of Virginia.” Inspired by White’s watercolors of North American Indians and Harriot’s maps of the Carolina coast’s barrier islands, de Bry published Grand Voyages, a series of exploration narratives illustrated with his own copper plate engravings. De Bry invited many European artists to hand-color the engravings that essentially became America’s first coloring books. Never before have these “complete plates” been published in one exquisite, oversized volume, co-authored by Larry E. Tise.

Tise, now a Philadelphia-based historian, spent the last decade traveling across Europe and America, examining all known and accessible copies of de Bry’s books in libraries, museums (including The Mariners’ Museum), and private collections. Tise holds a PhD from the University of North Carolina, and was a history administrator for many years.
 
To purchase The First American Coloring Book(s) today, click here! (shop link: https://shop.marinersmuseum.org/)

RSVP Here


21 NOV

Bygone Beacons

The James River Lighthouses and Their Lightkeepers

Presented by Larry Saint and Karla Smith

FREE for Members, $5 for guests

Lecture begins at 7:00 PM

Larry Saint and Karla Smith are co-authors of Screwpiles: The Forgotten Lighthouses. Published as a fundraiser for Suffolk River Heritage, the book is the result of years of extensive research, interviews, and writing about the lighthouses of the Chesapeake Bay, James River, and North Carolina Sounds.

To purchase Bygone Beacons: The James River Lighthouses and Their Lightkeepers today, click here! (shop link: https://shop.marinersmuseum.org/)

RSVP Here


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.

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Maritime Connections

 

Go behind the scenes of The Mariners’ Museum and Park in this new lecture series presented by Museum and Park staff, 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 in the lower lobby of the Museum.

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.

 


7 SEP

School’s Back in Session!

Presented by Andrea Rocchio, Science Educator

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

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.

 


5 OCT

Milestones in Early Submarine Development

Presented by Liz Williams, Collections Management Technician

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

Come hear about the intriguing existence of submarines throughout the centuries from Liz Williams, the Museum’s Collections Management Technician. Regarded as part of the “Silent Service” by the American public, the long history of submarines is often hidden below the waves with the subs themselves. The development and improvements that brought these vessels through to modern times have often come out of necessity or lessons learned from emergencies. Through this lecture, we’ll discuss several key submarines that helped change the design, safety, and capabilities of American submarines.

 


2 Nov

Going to Pieces over Conservation: Treatment of USS Monitor’s Gun Carriages

Presented by Elsa Sangouard, Senior Conservator, USS Monitor Center

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

Join Elsa Sangouard, a senior conservator in the USS Monitor Center, for a behind-the-scenes view into what it takes to conserve the US Navy’s first ironclad warship! Conserving large composite artifacts (made of different materials) is a multiyear process that requires a wide range of expertise from welders to analytical chemists. The port gun carriage is the largest of USS Monitor’s composite artifacts to be fully conserved to date. This lecture presents an overview of the conservation treatment process for the port gun carriage and describes disassembly challenges, innovation developed, and lessons learned. In the near future, the results of this work will be applied during the conservation of the starboard gun carriage.

 


07 Dec

An Inside Look at Toys Ahoy! A Maritime Childhood

Presented by Erika Cosme, content and interpretation developer

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

Come hear what it takes to create a capitivating exhibit at The Mariners’ Museum and Park with Erika Cosme, content and interpretation developer for the Museum.