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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


Spring 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 the night of the lecture.

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.


4 APR

Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island

Presented by Earl Swift

Thursday, April 4, 2019 • 7:00 PM

Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island

Tangier Island is one of America’s most fascinating places. Down to the very language they speak, the island’s inhabitants represent a way of life that is replicated nowhere else. “The soft-shell crab capital of the world,” Tangier Island is an integral part of the Chesapeake Bay’s seafood industry. Tangier Island is also disappearing. As sea levels rise, the island loses 15 feet of its shoreline every year. In just a few decades, the land could be uninhabitable. Acclaimed journalist Earl Swift offers us a bittersweet and eye-opening look at a world that has, quite nearly, gone by – and a crisis that will someday impact all Americans.

Buy Tickets Here
Earl Swift

Earl Swift


29 APR

Above and Beyond: Almost Armageddon at Sea during the Cuban Missile Crisis

Presented by Michael Tougias

Monday, April 29, 2019 • 7:00 PM

Above and Beyond: Almost Armageddon at Sea during the Cuban Missile Crisis

A Lecture Series favorite, Michael Tougias returns to tell his newest tale of high-stakes survival – this time, with a political twist. His book, Above and Beyond, chronicles the 13 harrowing days of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the US Navy’s role in the Cold War’s most traumatic moment. He recounts the near-disaster at sea during the US’s blockade of Cuba, the U-2 pilots who flew over the island, and President Kennedy’s decision-making. Would a Soviet ship or submarine test the 500-mile quarantine zone? And if so, would our naval ships risk world war by sinking a Russian ship or depth charging a sub? Tougias analyzes Kennedy’s choices, and examines how close our Navy came to attacking the Soviets.

Buy Tickets Here
"Above and Beyond" book cover

Above and Beyond book cover


Michael Tougias

Michael Tougias

Michael J. Tougias is a New York Times bestselling author and co-author of 28 books. Among his bestsellers are The Finest Hours (Disney Motion Pictures’ version opened in 45 countries in January 2016), Fatal Forecast, Overboard, King Philip’s War, and There’s A Porcupine In My Outhouse: The Vermont Misadventures of a Mountain Man Wannabe.

9 MAY

The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke

Presented by Andrew Lawler

Thursday, May 9, 2019 • 7:00 PM

The Secret Token: Myth, Obsession, and the Search for the Lost Colony of Roanoke

What happened to the Lost Colony of Roanoke? Founded in 1587, the colony was intended to establish England’s first foothold in the New World. But when its leader, John White, returned to Roanoke from a resupply mission, his settlers were nowhere to be found. They left behind only a single clue – a “secret token” carved into a tree. For 400 years, historians have speculated about what happened to the colony. But writer, correspondent, and author Andrew Lawler set out to solve the mystery. In the course of his journey, he encountered a host of characters obsessed with the colonists and their fate, and began to find out why the Lost Colony continues to haunt our national consciousness.

Buy Tickets Here
The Secret Token book cover

The Secret Token book cover


Andrew Lawler

Andrew Lawler (Credit: Photography by R. Plaster)

Andrew Lawler is author of two books and more than a thousand newspaper and magazine articles. A contributing writer for Science and contributing editor for Archaeology, he has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Geographic, Smithsonian, and others. His work has appeared several times in The Best of Science and Nature Writing.

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.


9 FEB

Capture of Fort Henry and Fort Donelson

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

Saturday, February 9, 2019 · 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Brigadier General U.S. Grant seized the strategic initiative when he organized the capture of Fort Henry on the Tennessee River, and then Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River. Fort Henry’s poor design and the arrival of Flag Officer Andrew Hull Foote’s Union ironclad squadron’s bombardment forced the fort to quickly surrender. Fort Donelson, however, was a very well-designed fortification with a well-positioned water battery. The Confederates were able to damage and defeat Foote’s fleet. Nevertheless, Grant was able to force the fort to capitulate due to poor Confederate leadership. This forced the Confederates to abandon Nashville, Tennessee, and earned the Union leader the nickname, ‘Unconditional Surrender Grant.’

RSVP Here

9 MAR

The Battle of the Ironclads

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

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

On March 9, 1862, Hampton Roads, Virginia, was the scene of the first battle between ironclad warships. The USS Monitor was able to block the CSS Virginia from destroying the rest of the Union fleet in Hampton Roads. This engagement changed naval warfare forevermore, proving the power of iron over wood.

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.


2 FEB

USS Monitor‘s Builders

Presented by Lesley Haines, Assistant Conservator

Saturday, February 2, 2019 · 10:30 AM & 2:30 PM

The Battle of Hampton Roads and USS Monitor‘s service is only part of the story. Each piece of Monitor was crafted by skilled tradespeople, some of whom left their literal stamp on the ship. Come learn about some of the people who helped build and outfit the vessel, and how conservation is helping us rediscover their stories.


2 MAR

If These Artifacts Could Talk

Presented by Cindi Verser, Collections Management Specialist

Saturday, March 2, 2019 · 10:30 AM & 2:30 PM

Our collection of almost 30,000 objects is full of weird, wild, and wonderful stories. This talk will examine some of the things we’ve learned, what we still don’t know, and what we find most fascinating.