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Ironclad Marvels: The Battle of USS Monitor and CSS Virginia

Target Grade or Age

Grade Level: 4th - 6th

Our talented team of Museum educators are committed to providing an engaging experience that brings SOL-related content to life for your students. We bring passion and energy to each program to ensure the highest level of impact and retention. To learn more about this program, click on one of the format options listed below.

Choose your experience:

Duration: 2 hours and 15 minutes

What happens when iron meets iron at sea? Find out by investigating the battle between the USS Monitor and the CSS Virginia. Using artifacts, reproduction artifacts, personal correspondence, and historical images, students will gain an understanding of the importance of this ironclad battle to Virginia, the American Civil War, and navies around the world. During the program, students will become detectives who learn about six individuals involved in the history of this battle through a primary source analysis activity. Students will also discover how artifacts from the Monitor wreck site are being conserved here at The Mariners’ Museum and participate in a mock-archaeological excavation of the Monitor’s Dahlgren guns – just like our own conservators!

Learning Objectives

Students will: 

  • Understand the significance of the Battle of Hampton Roads,
  • Learn how USS Monitor changed naval technology,
  • Investigate primary sources related to USS Monitor, and
  • Explore archaeological conservation and its importance.

History (VDOE 2023):

  • Elementary: Skills VS (a-f, h-i), VS.1(c) VS.7(b, e, g); Skills USI (a-f, h-i), USI.9 (a-f)
  • Middle: Skills USII (a-f, h-i)


Payment can be made before the program, or we can invoice following your program.

  • Programs at the Museum are $4.50 per student.
    All adults accompanying a field trip are free.
  • Programs at your location are $4.50 per student.
  • Virtual education programs are $125 per program.

Reservations are required for all programs and are booked on a first-come, first-served basis. Programs fill quickly in the fall and spring, so make your reservations a minimum of two weeks in advance.

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