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USS Monitor Turret tank draining

July 27, 2015 - August 6, 2015

Turret tank drained

See history in action!

For the first time in over three years, conservators in the USS Monitor Center’s Batten Conservation Laboratory will drain the 90,000-gallon treatment tank that houses USS Monitor‘s iconic revolving gun turret.

Museum visitors can see Monitor‘s iconic revolving gun turret from the massive viewing platform inside the Monitor Center from midday July 27 – August 6 during regular Museum hours, 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. with paid admission to the Museum. Museum Members may attend at no charge.

Conservators will inspect the condition of the 120-ton turret as well as perform maintenance on the sensitive equipment used to stabilize the turret’s wrought iron armor plates. While the turret tank is drained, visitors will have a close-up view of what was called the “cheese box on a raft.” The rotating gun turret was an important technological advance in naval architecture and warfare. The cylindrical structure was constructed of eight layers of 1″ thick wrought iron plates strong enough to withstand enemy fire. The turret rotated to aim the two XI” Dahlgren shell guns and then rotated away after firing to protect the sailors inside from return fire.

Book a special behind-the-scenes tour!

With reservations, historian John V. Quarstein is available to give behind-the-scenes tours inside the Batten Conservation Complex’s Wet and Dry Labs as well as through the award-winning exhibit Ironclad Revolution. Space is limited for these opportunities and must be booked in advance. The cost is $100 per person, with donations payable to the USS Monitor Foundation. Please call (757) 591-7726 or email


July 27, 2015
August 6, 2015
Event Category:


The Mariners’ Museum
100 Museum Drive
Newport News, VA 23606 United States
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(757) 596-2222