Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Surprise weekend visit!

It was a cold and snowy winter morning this past Saturday when we decided to get up early and pay a surprise spur of the moment visit to Jonathan down in Virginia. He'd had two procedures on the same day on Tuesday and I knew he was feeling horrible and hadn't been to training school for a few days.
Besides, I was having "mom" withdrawals after not getting to see him in a couple of months. I was pleased to have spent time with Jennifer a couple of weeks before, but I wanted to see my boy and see how he was holding up. We called him from the car on our way down to Ft. Eustis to see what he was going to be doing, and were glad that he had no plans. When we got there and picked him up at the PX, we left the day's activities up to him, and he wanted to Revisit the Maritime Museum where the USS Monitor and CSS Merrimack (renamed CSS Virginia) artifacts are housed.
Jon had been there with a buddy from his unit on the opening day of the Monitor exhibit but didn't have much time to spend looking over everything. We spent many hours in the museum learning about the first ironclad ships and the conservation efforts for the turret and other items that NOAA had been able to retreive from the North Carolin Coast where the Monitor sunk in 1862.
There were many other exhibits at the museum, including the pirate exhibit where Jon mugged for Mom's camera. We really had a lot of fun and spent a lot of time in the museum.
Here's a quick picture of Mark on the deck of the full scale reproduction of the Monitor that was on the grounds right next to the museum. As the artifacts are conserved and able to be displayed, they are mounted in the corresponding point to the replica ship in the museum. The propeller is already preserved, and it's on a mount in the museum across from the replica one outside on the scale model.
Here's one of the two Cannons that were in the turret of the Monitor. All the Monitor items must spend quite a bit of time in a bath of ionic solution with electrical charges running through it in order to leach out the harmful decaying ions. You can clearly visualize the cannon in the bath even though we had to take the picture through the window of the enclosure.
This one is a bit more difficult to see, but this is the actual turret in which the cannons, the mechanisms, and the remains of 2 sailors were preserved for all these years. The turret ended up being upside down under the ship and the coal from the coal bunker poured into the turret, ending up preserving everything inside. The turret turned and was the first of it's kind.
This is me, you can see how crummy the weather was, it went from snow and wet and windy to sun for a few minutes and then right back to overcast and snow again. That's our visit to the Maritime museum, more about our day and weekend in another post.

No comments: