How Does Your Garden Grow? 

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Side view of the Pollinator Garden at The Mariners' Museum Park
Side view of the Pollinator Garden at The Mariners’ Museum Park in April, 2020. (Photo credit: Graham King)

It seems these days many communities around the world are passing the time by unearthing and reimagining their lackluster yards, gardens, and other shared green spaces. Whatever your tabula rasa might be, it’s undeniable that gardens offer an approachable avenue to enhance aesthetics and reduce food insecurity in urban centers, and improve human health in numerous ways. Gardening not only connects people with the fertile ground they toil, but also creates links and connections between community members, whether it’s swapping tips, tricks, and plants with neighbors, or being part of a larger network like with the Master Gardeners or Master Naturalists. Even in the Tidewater area, surrounded by brackish water and the threat of hurricanes for six months, luscious gardens are part of our landscape, and we have some beautiful historical gardens in this area to show it! Erica Deale, the Park Stewardship Coordinator, often remarks that The Mariners’ Museum Park is, “one of the most well-planned and well-documented parks that I have ever seen.” The plants, trees, shrubs, and everything in between, were planned out extensively in the 1930s, and many of those plants are still in their original locations!  

Though the planning of the Park was on a larger scale, at The Mariners’ Museum and Park grounds, we are lucky enough to have lovely smaller gardens and beds sprinkled around the grounds, some newer than others, including a beautiful pollinator garden built in October 2019 that has a strong community connection.    Read more

Brushing off a little history

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The brush was removed from the starboard gun carraige, covered in mud and hard concretion.

Although my blogs to date give a very Dahlgren-centric view of what I do, there is far more to USS Monitor than just its guns. And I love having such a huge variety of objects to work on! In addition to big metal objects, we find a wide variety of organic objects, ranging from the wooden sides of the gun carriages to rope packing seals to a wool coat. We also have a number of brushes from on board the ship, including a nearly complete bench brush that I’ve been working on!

This brush was originally found stuck to one of the gun carriages, covered in mud and concretion – the hard, rocky material that forms around corroding iron. Although the brush itself is entirely organic – wood and fiber – it was so close to the iron of the gun carriage that it was caught inside concretion formed by that object. As a result, it didn’t look like much to begin with.   Read more

Happy Birthday to The Mariners’ Museum and Park!

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Did you know that our most beloved Museum and Park were incorporated, born, let’s say born, on June 2, 1930? We’re old. 90 years old, next week, to be exact! Our body – buildings and grounds – may be a little worn, but they’ve been well taken care of over the years by our loving Museum team. Our inners – our object and living collections – are strong … and maybe growing a bit (our trees are definitely taller!). Our brain – the staff and volunteers – is sharp, and our heart – our fantastic communities, members, donors, and YOU! – could not be stronger, healthier, or more supportive. 

Upon incorporation, our charter stated that we were to be:   Read more