Integrity of Heritage Resources

illustration of the Monitor as seen from above its current position
An illustration of the Monitor as seen from above its current position. Credit: Illustration by Jeff Johnston

Why is it a concern?

The site of the USS Monitor, approximately 15 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, is a National Historic Landmark. The site is subject to dynamic currents and storms. It has been heavily disturbed by NOAA sponsored archaeological recovery but much of the hull, artifacts and potential human remains are still in place.

The archaeological remains are protected by federal legislation and the marine sanctuary continues to monitor the site for possible human disturbance as well as environmental effects. The sanctuary continues to take into account the desire for public access to the site as well as needs for additional research.

Overview of Research

Research conducted by Sanctuary scientists and partners provides critical information to address existing and emerging resource conservation and management issues. The Overview of Research highlights some, but not necessarily all, of the research activities completed or ongoing at the Sanctuary.

Project Name PI and contacts Links

Monitor Expeditions

David Alberg
Tane Casserley


Science Needs and Questions

The best available science is used by Sanctuary scientists and managers working to address priority resource conservation and management issues. As priorities change and new issues emerge, each Sanctuary develops new science needs and questions and works with partners to address them.

  • Marine debris found within the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary (MNMS or Sanctuary) can adversely affect Sanctuary resources.
  • Corrosion potential analysis of submerged cultural material needs to be conducted to make informed management decisions and aid in predictive modeling.

Education and Outreach Material

Due to the sanctuary's location and the harsh environment within which the USS Monitor lays, it is impossible for the majority of the public to visit the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. However, through partnering museums, you can immerse yourself and/or your students into the Monitor's rich history. Our official visitor center, The Mariners' Museum, is located in Newport News, Va. There you can view hundreds of recovered artifacts and historic documents; observe the turret, steam engine and other large artifacts under conservation; walk on a full-size Monitor replica; explore the USS Monitor Center; and more.

An educational video about the USS Monitor has also been developed.

The Outer Banks Maritime Heritage Trail is a self-led tour along Highway 12 that allows the public to learn about and experience the maritime heritage of the Outer Banks through videos, pictures, and oral histories.


The Monitor NMS 2008 Condition Report provides a summary of resources in the sanctuary, pressures on those resources, the current condition and trends, and management responses to the pressures that threaten the integrity of the marine environment.