12 Explorers Highlighted in McMurran Hall

The second age of exploration, the Age of Steel, is exhibited in the lobby of McMurran Hall.

Did you know that a civil war battle in Hampton Roads changed Naval warfare? Indeed, the clash between the Union’s USS Monitor and Confederacy’s CSS Virginia was the first battle of ironclad ships in world history.

The ironclad revolution transformed how ships were built, proving to be far more effective and powerful during warfare.
Currently, the Public History Center is offering an exhibit discussing the Monitor’s technology, as well as The Letters Home Collection, which contains information on 12 Civil War naval explorers.

This display exemplifies the naval culture located right in our backyard. The Letters Home Collection pays tributes to veterans by letting their stories be heard and allowing their legacy to live on.

On Oct. 5, the grand opening of the exhibit was kicked off with a lecture on the technology of the USS Monitor presented by Dr. John Quarstein, a historian, preservationist, author, and the writer of the PBS Documentary, “Civil War in Hampton Roads”.

Quarstein offered substantial knowledge on the Monitor and its creation. He illustrated the reasoning behind the Monitor’s design; it was known for its revolutionary turret despite not being completely seaworthy considering it almost sank twice.

At the time it was proclaimed by the Union that the Monitor saved the nation.

The “Age of Steel” exhibit will continue in McMurran Hall Main Lobby until October 27th, and the “Age of Sail” exhibit will follow this from Nov. 2-21. These exhibits emphasize naval events occurring in our area that are part of our country’s history, and can be valued by all.