Funding Problems Close Monitor Center Lab
The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia, has announced that due to lack of federal funding it will temporarily close the 5,000-square-foot conservation lab that houses the Union ironclad Monitor’s gun turret and other artifacts from the historic ship. At the end of 2013, the agreement that managed the partnership between the museum and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for the conservation of the Monitor artifacts expired, leaving federal funding uncertain.
The privately owned museum was founded in 1930 and is congressionally designated as America’s National Maritime Museum. In 1997 it was named as the official repository of artifacts recovered from the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. The wreck was discovered in 1973, and in 2007 the 120-ton revolving gun turret was recovered. In 2007 the museum opened the Monitor Center, a $31 million, 64,000-square-foot expansion. More than 200 tons of material have been recovered and brought to the museum for conservation.