Tag Archives: engines

Mariners’ Museum 2… the movies, the Monitor and the turret.


So class, yesterday we learned about the CSS Virginia and how most people call her by the incorrect name of…..?

The Merrimack.



Sure you do… you just haven’t realized it yet.

It’s okay. I’ll wait.

Today, we’re going to the movies.




In a surround sound theater that promised an ‘edge of your seat exciting’ depiction of the Ironclad battle.

“You’ll feel like you’re right there!” exclaimed the docent.





About that…




It was a cartoon.



An informative cartoon, I grant you…



But a cartoon all the same. And even with the rolling smoke that issued from the walls and floor…. I didn’t feel any more there than I did watching Bugs Bunny as a child.

Oh well, there were better things ahead.




Like the USS Monitor… famous for her spinning gun turret.




Is it me, or does that thing look like a drunken owl?



She was built in 100 days, which was an amazing accomplishment for the time.




And the museum faithfully recreated what the officer’s quarters looked like upon completion.




Not too shabby.




If a wee bit small.




There were lots of interesting artifacts to examine.




As well as photos of the men who served aboard her.




Of course, being me…. you know I had to find some reference to alcoholic refreshment.




And then, in the next section of the museum….




A replica of the recovered Monitor’s turret.

The original is currently on site and being slowly and painstakingly preserved. Read about it’s discovery and journey to Newport News here.




This was basically what it looked like on the ocean floor.




All that rusty metal! You know my other half was thrilled….




But one of the most impressive aspects of this museum’s exhibit?




A life size USS Monitor right outside.




Of course it was raining and they advised you not to walk on her slippery deck….




So that’s exactly what we did.




Stand on the bow of an Ironclad?

Uh… yes. I will!




Husband even rung the turret’s bell for good measure.




Cool beans!

And if that wasn’t awesome enough? Back inside and down a flight stairs….




Took you inside the turret.




And literally inside the ship itself.




Admittedly the engines and engineering diagrams were above my pay grade.




But the display really gave you a feel for the ship.




And my inner history nerd was sighing with satisfaction.

We did climb up to the observation landing to peer into the lab where the original pieces of the ship are being restored, but it was just giant vats of seawater with electrical current running through them.

Not very photo worthy, so I’ll spare you the shots.



Fear not.

The second half of the museum starts tomorrow…. and it will be a little more fun.

Here’s a little preview.

















I learned a lesson the other day… the hard way.  (If there’s any other way, I’ve yet to find it.)

In April I received a recall notice for Ethel. (Yes, my car’s name is Ethel)

No big deal, it was something about a brake light switch. I stuck the notice in the drawer thinking, yeah…I’ll have to make an appointment at the dealership sometime.

Which means I promptly forgot all about it.

Then two months ago, we were leaving our friend’s place at camp. They have the driveway from Hell… steep and unpaved. We were backing out, hit some loose gravel and bing! bam! boom! all my warning lights started flashing on the dash. ABS, Vehicle Dynamics Control, Hill Assist.

You name it, it was flashing.



I thought, oh hell… we knocked some silly computer module out of whack.

But the car drove perfectly fine and by the time we got home all the lights were out…. so I didn’t give it a second thought. Until this Monday when I went grocery shopping, pulled into the parking lot and shifted into park. Bing! Bam! Boom! all the warning lights flashed again.

Warning lights. What do I know about warning lights?




I mean heck, if they had useful ones….. it would make sense.




But these things were going off for absolutely no reason. Again, my only thought was… stupid computers.

Until I loaded all my groceries in the car, started it and couldn’t shift.

Nada. Nothing. Frozen in park.

Of course it was a hot day…. and of course ice cream was on sale so I’d bought 4 containers. As everything melted into soup, I fiddled and faddled and cursed and finally managed to get it in gear to drive home.

Where it froze in park again.

Moral of the story?




When the manufacturer sends you a recall notice? There’s a reason…. go have it taken care of.

It may just be a brake light switch, and they may assure you “only a small handful of vehicles have had serious issues”….. but if it’s one in three million?

It’s going to be me.

I’m lucky that way.