Become a

Captain Worden Challenge

Join the Captain Worden Challenge in support of the USS Monitor Center!

Mission Statement

The mission of the Captain Worden Challenge is to tell the amazing story of Rear Admiral John L. Worden and the USS Monitor to current and future generations through conservation, exhibition, and education.

Read a biography of John Lorimer Worden

The Captain Worden Challenge is managed by The USS Monitor Center, located at The Mariners’ Museum and Park in Newport News, Virginia.

Captain Worden Challenge logo

Ways to Give

Monitor gun lift preparations

Museum conservators prepare to lift one of the Monitor‘s guns

We aim to complete the conservation of approximately 210 tons of artifacts from the USS Monitor. With your support, the team can complete the desalination, concretion removal, and stabilization efforts to ensure that the Worden gun and other Monitor artifacts will last for generations to come.

The USS Monitor Center collection includes two XI-inch Dahlgren guns – one of which has the inscription “Worden / Monitor & Merrimac” stamped in the side. The conservation of the Dahlgren guns is slated to take three to five more years, while general conservation will likely not be completed until 2035. Both Dahlgren guns were stamped when the ship was re-fitted at the Washington Navy Yard in December 1862 to celebrate the containment of the CSS Virginia (previously the USS Merrimack) and to honor two of the men thought to be most influential in the Monitor‘s success —John Ericsson, the ship’s designer, and John Lorimer Worden, the ship’s commanding officer during the battle of the Ironclads. These inscriptions make the guns a distinctive feature of the USS Monitor Center and of the ship’s story.

See conservation in action—view our webcams!

Donate Online Here!

If you would prefer to mail in your gift, use the printable PDF form here.

A view of an Ironclad Revolution gallery at night

Ironclad Revolution gallery at night

Once conservation is complete, objects can be safely and effectively displayed. This will allow visitors to stand next to objects that are over 150 years old. Seeing is believing!

Displays have to take into account environmental controls, signage, stability, and aesthetic presence and placement of the artifacts. We need your help to properly display the Worden Dahlgren gun and other pieces. Displaying the Worden Dahlgren gives the USS Monitor Center opportunities to hold new special events and build programming around this iconic artifact. It has the potential to tell a story of technology, naval warfare, and the people surrounding it for years to come.

Read about the Ironclad Revolution exhibition!

Donate Online Here!

If you would prefer to mail in your gift, use the printable PDF form here.

Ironclad Revolution sinking theater

The sinking theater in the Ironclad Revolution exhibition

USS Monitor and Lieutenant John L. Worden have a lot to teach us. The ship was brand new, untested technology. Worden was chosen as its commanding officer because of his background as a scientific officer and for his bravery and loyalty. Under his leadership, the vessel became known as the “little ship that saved the nation.”

With continued efforts in conservation and education come opportunities to build and implement interactive learning opportunities for everyone from children to entrepreneurs. Help us bring the Civil War at Sea, the USS Monitor, and Worden’s story out of the museum and into schools, homes, and civic organizations. Programs will vary from history to leadership, school groups to living rooms, and everything in between!

See what Monitor Center events you can attend!

Donate Online Here!

If you would prefer to mail in your gift, use the printable PDF form here.

John L. Worden aboard the Montauck

John L. Worden aboard the Montauck

Join the story! Your donation will help fund the publication of John L. Worden’s biography. This book aims to bring ongoing scholarship into the life of Lieutenant Worden, the USS Monitor, and the Civil War at Sea to life by seeing history through his eyes.

His unique leadership, scientific background, and heroic wartime history lend themselves to a powerful story of personal attributes and technological advances that can teach valuable life lessons to all ages and interests – from maritime history to engineering to entrepreneurship – Worden’s story has something for everybody.

Find other Civil War books!

Donate Online Here!

If you would prefer to mail in your gift, use the printable PDF form here.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss the size and purpose of any gift; contact Luisa Vázquez-López at (757) 591-7705.