The Monitor Replica
By Julie Lane
The Apprentice School is building a replica of the USS Monitor for the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News. The members of the Apprentice School chapter of the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Designers (SNAME) took a field trip to see this replica and the new Monitor Center. Tom Clark (the man behind the idea) was kind enough to show us around and tell us about the replica’s design.
We toured the Monitor Center and lab facilities. The center is still under construction, but Tom described in vivid detail what it will look like when it is done. The center will include a theater that will show a short film about the battle between the USS Monitor and the USS Merrimac. Tom said that the sound and visual effects are as good as any Hollywood movie.
Stairs have been built outside the lab so that people can look into the tanks where the Monitor’s turret and engine being restored. Cameras that show the turret will be connected to television monitors installed on the main floor so the turret can be viewed from there as well.
We also ventured outside to see the replica, which is a fantastic sight to see because it’s enormous. Tom told us how the apprentices have influenced the project by offering many ideas for improvement. Quite a few of those ideas are being used. For instance, the X36 riggers asked some questions that the museum staff had not thought to ask themselves. The result was the purchase of a 40 ton crane instead of a 25 ton crane, which was the original plan. The apprentices also suggested that watertight doors be installed on the tanks holding the turret and engine.
There is a plaque on the main tank recognizing the work the apprentices have put forth on the replica. Tom said that the museum is planning to have another plaque with the names of everyone who worked on the project.
All those who have participated in building the replica should be very proud of their work, and they must be commended for doing such a wonderful job.
A big thank you goes out to Tom Clark, whose vision for this project included the apprentices here at Northrop Grumman Newport News.