For more than 80 years, the history of the ocean and its relationship with mankind has been told and displayed in one of the world’s largest maritime history museums, The Mariners’ Museum in Newport News, Virginia. The Museum is designated as America’s National Maritime Museum by the United States Congress.
The Mariners’ Museum was founded in 1930 by Archer M. Huntington, and today includes 130,000 square feet of exhibition space. The Museum is an educational, non-profit institution that preserves and interprets maritime history through an international collection of more than 35,000 artifacts, and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is home to the USS Monitor Center, a major expansion that opened in 2007, and which is the official repository for artifacts recovered from the Civil War ironclad ship that sank in 1862.
The Mariners’ Museum Library at Christopher Newport University houses the largest maritime collection in the western hemisphere, with 78,000 volumes, one million manuscript items, 600,000 photographs and several thousand maps, charts and ships’ plans. Its collection dates to the 1500s.
The Museum is situated in the midst of 550-acre Mariners’ Museum Park, the largest privately owned and maintained park free and open to the public in the United States. The park includes the 5-mile Noland Trail and 167-acre Lake Maury.