Last updated: 1/19/2023
100 Museum Drive
Newport News, VA 23606
Closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Day.
General Admission: $1
Children ages three and under: Free
Online Gift Shop
Special Event Rental
Howard H. Hoege, III, President & CEO
Luisa A. Vázquez-López, Senior Director of Advancement
The Mariners' Museum and Park connects people to the world's waterways through exploration and engaging experiences. The Museum is filled with fascinating stories, captured in priceless artifacts that celebrate the spirit of the open sea. Designated by Congress as America’s National Maritime Museum, The Mariners’ Museum is one of the largest and most comprehensive maritime museums in the world.
The organization is an educational, non-profit institution and preserves and interprets maritime history through an international collection of intricate ship models, rare figureheads, nautical paintings, navigational instruments, and other maritime artifacts. The Mariners' Museum is home to the USS Monitor Center, where the story of the USS Monitor's creation, battle, sinking, and recovery are told in vivid detail. The Museum is surrounded by the 550-acre Mariners' Museum Park, the largest privately-maintained park that is free and open to the public in North America. The Mariners' Museum Library is the largest maritime library in the Western hemisphere.
The Mariners' Museum and Park connects people to the world's waters, because through the waters — through our shared maritime heritage — we are connected to one another.
For over 80 years, the history of the ocean and its relationship with humankind has been told and displayed in one of the largest maritime museums in the world. In June 1930, The Mariners' Museum was brought to life by the shared vision of Archer M. Huntington (son of Newport News Shipbuilding and Drydock Company founder Collis P. Huntington) and Homer L. Ferguson (the head of Newport News Shipbuilding at the time of the founding and the Museum's first President).
The first purchases of artifacts in any quantity were made in the early 1930s in New York and New England. Because the Museum was to be international in scope, the search for maritime material expanded throughout the 1930s to Europe, the West Indies and beyond. The Museum's collection now totals approximately 32,000 objects, equally divided between works of art and three-dimensional objects. Huntington's personal library of maritime books formed the core of the Museum's Library.
USS Monitor Center, Defending the Seas, Age of Exploration, Great Hall of Steam, Crabtree Collection of Miniature Ships, and the International Small Craft Center
The collection is composed of more than 35,000 maritime items including ship models, scrimshaw, maritime paintings, decorative arts, intricately carved figureheads, navigational instruments, working steam engines, and hundreds of artifacts from the Civil War ironclad USS Monitor, including its steam engine, propeller, and gun turret.
The Mariners' Museum offers programs for students around the world and activities for families around the corner. Whether it's learning about the Age of Exploration or hearing a lecture, there's something for everyone.
- Interactive Video Conferencing
- Teacher Workshops
- Lecture Series
- Scouting Opportunities
- Teachers' Favorite Award
- Homeschool Programs
- Online Exhibitions
The Museum itself includes 120,000 square feet of gallery space, including the prestigious International Small Craft Center and the award-winning USS Monitor Center. This state-of-the-art permanent exhibition and conservation lab houses 210 tons of artifacts from the Civil War ironclad Monitor, recovered from NOAA's Monitor National Marine Sanctuary.
The Museum sits in an urban oasis: The 550-acre Mariners' Museum Park is home to the 167-acre Mariners' Lake and the Noland Trail - a five-mile shoreline trail with 14 bridges. The Park and Lake offer local residents and visitors to the area the opportunity to experience the beauty and peace of an oasis in the city.
The Mariners’ Museum Library holds the largest maritime history collection in the Western Hemisphere. With its rich collections and international scope, the Library is a premier resource for maritime research. The Library houses over 78,000 volumes; 800,000 photographs, films, and negatives; and over one million pieces of archival material, making it the largest maritime library in the Western Hemisphere. The Library is also home to the boatbuilding archives of Chris-Craft Industries.
Most materials are currently in storage, but there are plans to build a space to house the Library and Archives in the future.
Appointment required: No
Host one of The Mariners' Museum's traveling exhibitions. Choose from a range of topics to appeal to your institution and visitors. Contact us for contents, space requirements, fees, and scheduling information
Visit our spacious Gift Shop during your visit to find the perfect present for your family, that great coworker, teacher, or friend. From toys and stylish apparel to contemporary jewelry, books, and souvenirs inspired by the nautical collections of The Mariners’ Museum, we offer an array of collectible treasures to truly make your voyage memorable.
The Mariners' Museum is perfectly suited for groups of all ages! Just 10 visitors qualify for our special group rate, and with a minimum of two hours, your group can enjoy the Museum and its rich and varied maritime stories.
Special Event Rentals
The Mariners' Museum and Park is no stranger to hosting some of the region's most elegant events. We have space for a wide variety of events including wedding ceremonies, receptions, military ceremonies, seminars, lectures, board meetings, conferences, fundraisers, and holiday parties. Whether formal or informal, cocktail party or black-tie dinner, large or small, we can help make your event memorable.
Online Gift Shop
Special Event Rental
Friendly Hours on Second Sunday EVERY MONTH
Have a family member, friend or loved one who needs a tailored museum experience? Join us for Friendly Hours on the second Sunday of each month! /////// Friendly Hours is an inclusive time reserved for guests, including those with mobility, cognitive, or physical challenges, who prefer to experience the Museum in a quieter, less crowded environment with reduced sound and lighting. Safety protocols also take precedent during this time to ensure all guests, volunteers and our Museum team are protected. /// Space is limited, and we encourage you to purchase advance tickets online so we know that you are coming for this unique program.
07:00 PM - 08:30 PM
Connecting Ancestral Memory through the History and Archaeology of Slave Shipwrecks
This lecture is part of our Black History Month programming. Join Kamau Sadiki from Diving With a Purpose as he shares the unfathomable stories of two shipwrecks involved in the Transatlantic Era of African enslavement through underwater archaeology documentation:/// 1.
Sao Jose Paquete de Africa, which crashed into the rocks off Clifton Beach in Cape Town, South Africa, on December 27, 1794. Of the 500 captured Africans onboard, 212 lost their lives. //// 2. Clotilda, which sailed into Mobile Bay, Alabama, on July 9, 1860, ending an illegal mission as the last slave ship to bring captured Africans into the USA to be enslaved. There were 110 imprisoned human souls from present day Benin in its cargo hold. //// 3. The wreckage of the slave ships would be discovered, Sao Jose Paquete de Africa in June 2015 and Clotilda in June 2018. Kamau participated in some of the underwater archaeological work on these wrecks as a strategic partner with the Slave Wrecks Project, SEARCH Inc., and Smithsonian's National Museum of African American Culture. //// 4. In this immersive lecture, Kamau will highlight the work of DWP, a non-profit organization of SCUBA divers whose primary mission is to bring back into memory the stories of shipwrecks involved in the commodification and enslavement of Black bodies. ///// Attendees are welcome to send comments or questions to Kamau, and he will answer following the lecture.
Free for Museum Members, $10 for guests
12:00 PM - 01:00 PM
Join us for a lecture with author and historian John V. Quarstein, director emeritus of the USS Monitor Center. Quarstein will give a presentation about the most successful slave revolt at sea in US history. ///// The most successful slave revolt in US history occurred on November 7, 1841, when enslaved persons took over the ship Creole that sailed from Hampton Roads, Virginia, en route to New Orleans. Madison Washington led other enslaved people in a successful rebellion. Once they reached Nassau, Bahamas, they were automatically free since Great Britain outlawed slavery in 1834. Despite numerous American diplomatic and court actions, 128 people gained their freedom in the Creole Rebellion.
Free for Museum Members.
$1 for guests.
12:00 PM - 01:00 PM
Four Freedom Fighters from Southampton County
Southampton County, Virginia, was home to four men who took radically different paths seeking freedom. Nat Turner led the bloodiest slave revolt in American history, whereas Dred Scott endeavored to find his freedom via the legal approach. Anthony Gardiner left Southampton County for Liberia, later becoming that nation's president. John "Fed" Brown became a fugitive, eventually reaching England, where he wrote A Narrative of a Slave's Life in Georgia, one of several books published before the Civil War detailing the evils of slavery.
Free for Museum Members.
$1 for guests.
08:00 AM - 05:00 PM
Capt. Henry Marx Memorial US Sailing International Safety at Sea Course
MARK YOUR CALENDARS! ////// The Mariners' Museum and Park will host the annual Captain Henry Marx Memorial Safety at Sea course in March 2023. The US Sailing Sanctioned International Safety at Sea Hands-on Training Only course will be offered on Saturday, March 11. ////// Space is limited to 60 people. Check back for pricing and additional details. //////
Join us for this US Sailing sanctioned Hands-on Safety at Sea course designed and conducted by leaders in the field of boating safety. This day-long program is for crew members of offshore races, long-distance cruisers, and any sailors wanting to improve their sailing safety skills.
////// Participants will receive US Sailing's International Safety at Sea certification. This is the most comprehensive safety at sea program offered in the Hampton Roads area and is open to all cruising and racing skippers and crews, recreational boaters, and commercial mariners, and is presented by The Mariners' Museum and Park and Landfall Navigation. //////
Your Course fee includes: 1. US Sailing's book Safety at Sea: A Guide to Safety Under Sail and Personal Survival, lunch*,2. a complimentary docent tour, 3. World Sailing approved Offshore Personal Survival Course US Sailing certificate, 4. lectures, 5. demonstrations, 6. course materials, and 7. round trip transportation from the Museum to pool and back! ///////
Participants in the March 11 course must present proof of completing the US Sailing Sanctioned International Safety at Sea Online course (Parts 1 and 2) within 365 days of attending the Hands-on Only course. For information on fulfilling this requirement, please use this link: https://www.ussailing.org/education/adult/safety-at-sea-courses-2022/
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