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[source: Daily Press]

Today's Daily Press has a fascinating article (even a broken clock is right twice a day) on the Mariner's Museum and its new changes coming with the Monitor Center, which looks like a fantastic addition to the cultural scene in Hampton Roads.

Developed in partnership with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which oversees the North Carolina waters where the famous Civil War ship sank, the Monitor Center will house a sprawling array of exhibits as well as a hoard of artifacts recovered from the wreck.

Among the attractions under construction are a multimillion-dollar theater that re-creates the historic 1862 Battle of Hampton Roads between the Monitor and the CSS Virginia - often known as the Merrimack - and a life-size, 173-foot-long replica of the pioneering Union ship.

Also included is a cavernous, state-of-the-art conservation facility that will allow museum visitors to observe much of the 10- to 15-year-long process that will be required to preserve the steam engine, cannons and rotating gun turret retrieved from the wreck.

It's really amazing to me how little attention we locals pay to this incredible museum. I was shocked when I began to research maritime history at the end of High School (for a paper on the Spanish-American war and its implications on US modern hegemony) and the Mariner's Museum was constantly referenced. We really have a heck of a world-class museum right here in Hampton Roads that is not only world-renown for those in its field, but unique and now, getting even better and more interesting. If you haven't been, you really really really should go.

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That place is truly one of the best specialty museums in the world. It's in a beautiful setting too. The Crabtree collection is awesome. No one should miss it.

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