Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day 1 at the Battle of Hampton Roads Weekend

During the Battle of Hampton Roads Weekend Event at the Mariners' Museum this weekend, I am keeping a diary of events and observations along the way. - Matthew T. Eng

5 March 2011: Mariners' Museum Newport News, VA (Part 1 of 2)

Early Morning at the Mariners' with Bivouac Tents.  View from my table 

 9:30 am: Everything is set up for the Hampton Roads Naval Museum.  There are Civil War Navy Special Edition Daybooks, Blacks in Blue Jackets pamphlets, and HRNM brochures.  Things are pretty quiet right now, but I can see a small line of people at the outside of the building waiting to get in.  Outside, several living history groups are setting up tents and artillery for the day's presentations.  The day should be fairly busy.  I'm at a booth currently next to Hampton historian and author John Quarstein and the Virginia War Museum.  John has a new book out called The Monitor Boys.  It sounds like an interesting read. This weekend might be the first time that anybody has seen the book since its been released.  I also had a chance to talk to Dr. Robert Browning and his wife.  Dr. Browning is the Chief Historian of the U.S. Coast Guard.  He is doing a presentation later this afternoon on the Blockading Squadron during the War.   I'm looking forward to today's events.

 The Norfolk Light Artillery Blues Open Fire

10:30 am:  The artillery demonstrations startled me, but I am getting used to it.  Walking around, I talked to a fellow exhibitor who has an impressive collection of Confederate and Union naval swords, Gerald Roxbury.  Apparently, he used to show displays at the Naval Museum.

10:45 am: A lot of guests i talk to are interested and intrigued with the Special Edition Daybook.  It's only been 45 minutes since the museum opened and I've gone through about 60 of them.  If you haven't read it, you should HERE.  Free to download, or come stop by the Mariners' Museum and pick one up yourself!

11:00 am: I took a little time to go visit the new exhibit outside the Monitor Center titled "Up Pops the Monitor."  It is really neat.  It has quite the "retro" theme to it.  So retro, that Mariners' VP Anna Holloway told me they served Tab and tater tots at the grand opening a few days back.    It explores the popular cultures of the Monitor, focusing on the "name" used to advertise products from books and art to even refrigerators!  Really cool stuff.  I took a couple of pictures from the exhibit.  They even had a running of the film Hearts in Bondage, the 1936 classic about the Battle of Hampton Roads.  Here are some of the photos:
Sinking of the USS Monitor, 1979 by Robert Ewell

Books, Magazines, and Comic Books Portraying the Monitor

Monitor Top Fridge!
12:00 pm: Talked to a Civil War Marine who works with the Tidewater Maritime Living History Association.  Along the same lines, there was a guest who apparently donated materials to HRNM fron his time in the 4th Marine Division during WWII.  Interesting stuff.  I think its time that I go for lunch. 

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