In 1975, two years after the wreck of the USS Monitor was discovered off Cape Hatteras, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) designated the USS Monitor National Marine Sanctuary to protect her.
27 years later, in 2002, the USS Monitor’s turret was pulled up from the wreck site by NOAA and the US Navy Diving Team commanded by Bobbie Scholley. Recovered within the turret were the remains of two of the USS Monitor’s crewmembers.
Since its recovery, the turret has undergone a conservation process at the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, Virginia, while at the same time, DNA testing on the two crewmen and forensic reconstruction of their faces has been performed. Together with genealogical research on the 16 lost crewmen, efforts are underway to identify the crewmen recovered in the turret and to locate their family members.
The Greenpoint Monitor Museum has worked with NOAA since 1996 to keep alive the memory of the USS Monitor that was built and launched in Greenpoint 150 years ago, on January 30, 1862. Janice and George J. Weinmann, representing the Museum, were invited by NOAA to participate in the recovery expeditions off Cape Hatteras for both the USS Monitor’s engine and turret in 2000, ‘01 and ‘02.
Last month, The United States Navy Memorial Foundation and NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries invited the Weinmanns to represent The Greenpoint Monitor Museum and Oliver Tilden Camp No. 26, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War at the memorial service and plaque dedication honoring the 16 lost crew members of the Civil War Ironclad USS Monitor. The forensic reconstruction of the faces of the two lost crewmen was unveiled at the event.
Earlier this year, the 150th Anniversary of the launching of the USS Monitor was celebrated by the Greenpoint Monitor Museum. Representatives from NOAA and the Mariner’s Museum came to Greenpoint to mark the occasion and to announce that once The Greenpoint Monitor Museum’s building was built, they would provide USS Monitor artifacts for display at the Museum, allowing Greenpointers to proudly view their heritage.