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Ironclad exhibition wins museum award

The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Va., was honored by the American Association of Museums for its USS Monitor Center. The $30 million exhibition, which opened in March 2007, is one of four winning entries out of the 33 the association received this year. Judging was based on content, exhibition design and educational programming.

The 63,500-square-foot USS Monitor Center includes such artifacts as the ironclad’s turret, steam engine and cannon. Visitors can walk on a full-scale replica of the Monitor, experience the drama of the Battle of Hampton Roads in a high-definition theater, and observe the conservation of material recovered from the wreck site.

NOAA oversees the site through the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. Designated the first national marine sanctuary, in 1975, the Monitor wreck site comprises a column of water 1 nautical mile in diameter extending from the surface to the seabed around the wreck, which lies 16 miles off Cape Hatteras, N.C.

This article originally appeared in the December 2008 issue.