Thursday, February 20, 2014

Work on Conserving USS Monitor Ceases as Funding Runs Low

 In his January 26 article, journalist Steve Szkotak stated the conservation of Civil War ironclad warship USS Monitor has been nearly halted due to diminishing funds from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration amid budget cuts.

The iron-hulled warship, which sunk on New Year’s Eve in 1862 and was rediscovered in 1973, was lifted from the ocean floor in 2002. The Mariner’s Museum was appointed with the task of conserving and restoring the Civil War artifacts, and five years after its reemerging from the waters of the Atlantic, a $30 million exhibit was opened to display pieces from the wreck.

Now, work on conserving the Monitor in the labs of the Mariner’s Museum has been slowly decreasing as money runs low. According to the article, the original goal of completing the restoration and conservation in 15 years has now been estimated to take up to five decades.

James Delgado, director of the NOAA’s Maritime Heritage Program and author of the 2012 book Misadventures of a Civil War Submarine: Iron, Guns, and Pearls (Texas A&M University Press, 2012), told the Associated Press that the agency will support the museum’s work ‘as appropriations allow.

Read the full Associated Press article here.

 In his 2012 TAMU Press book USS Monitor: A Historic Ship Complete Its Final Voyage, recently retired archaeologist of the NOAA John D. Broadwater explored the history of the Civil War ship, from its first battles to its rediscovery and restoration. Lavish illustrations compliment this informative and readable account of the first ironclad warship commissioned by the U.S. Navy during the Civil War that established its own type of warship design.

Both Delgado and Broadwater’s books were Honorable Mentions for the 2013 John Lyman Book Award.

More information on Broadwater’s book can be found here, and more on Delgado’s book can be found here

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