Thursday, April 6th
“The USS Monitor
and The Mariners’ Museum,” presented by Howard Hoege and John Quarstein. Whenever you see a turret on a modern navy warship think of the iconic Civil War ironclad, the USS Monitor
. Rated as one of the top five deadliest experimental warships in naval history, the Monitor
is in the same league as today’s USS Zumwalt. The Monitor’s
design was a combination of several pivotal changes in naval technology during the first half of the 19th century. So, when the ship needed a commander, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles selected scientific officer Lieutenant John Lorimer Worden for the task. Worden will captain the Monitor
to fame when she fought the CSS Virginia
(previously the USS Merrimack
) during the Battle of Hampton Roads on 9 March 1862. Worden went on to be a rear admiral and the commandant of the U.S. Naval Academy. His legacy is the story of how new technology can be proven a success under the efficient and dynamic leadership of men like the beloved captain of the USS Monitor
Stories such as Worden’s continue to be shared at The Mariners’ Museum and Park which “connects people to the world’s waters – to our shared maritime heritage – because through the world’s waters, we are connected to one another.” Named “America’s National Maritime Museum,” because of the depth and breadth of its collection, the Museum is able to tell stories of exploration, commerce, conflict, technology and innovation, inspiration, and recreation from multiple cultures around the world. It is the Museum’s goal to show how that we are, as a people and as individuals, a lot more alike than we are different.
Howard H. Hoege III is the President and CEO of The Mariners’ Museum and Park in Newport News, Virginia John V. Quarstein is the director of the USS Monitor
Center at The Mariners’ Museum and Park.
Thursday, May 4th
“Cassandra in Oz: Counterinsurgency and Future War,” by Conrad Crane. When Conrad Crane retired from active duty to become a research professor, he never expected to become a modern Cassandra, fated to tell truth to power without being heeded. After the world transformed on 9/11, he warned the Army that it was not prepared to execute stability operations, counterinsurgency, and the eventual reconstruction of Iraq. Crane’s work attracted the attention of Generals David Petraeus and James Mattis, and he soon found himself in charge of a team tasked with creating the groundbreaking Field Manual 3-24/Marine Corps Warfighting Publication 3-33.5 Counterinsurgency, the very counterinsurgency doctrine he had pleaded for. A unique blend of traditional and modern theory, this manual would prove to be essential to the success of the Surge in Iraq that changed the course of the war. Crane’s account of the creation and implementation of the manual addresses its many criticisms, details what went wrong in Iraq, and explains how the new doctrine was never properly applied in Afghanistan. From the debates over the content to the ways it was used in the field, Cassandra in Oz covers lessons that should be gleaned from years of global war and displays the American military as a learning organization at its best.
Dr. Conrad C. Crane is the Chief of Historical Services for the Army Heritage and Education Center at the Army War College. A retired Army officer who taught history for 12 years at West Point, he has written widely on airpower and landpower issues. In 2008 he was selected as the International Archivist of the Year by the Scone Foundation, and in 2016 he was awarded the Samuel Eliot Morison Prize by the Society for Military History for lifetime contributions to the field.
Thursday, June 1st
“The Sea Mark: Captain John Smith’s Voyage to New England,” by Russell Lawson.
By age thirty-four Captain John Smith was already a well-known adventurer and explorer. He had fought as a mercenary in the religious wars of Europe and had won renown for fighting the Turks. He was most famous as the leader of the Virginia Colony at Jamestown, where he had wrangled with the powerful Powhatan and secured the help of Pocahontas. By 1614 he was seeking new adventures. He found them on the 7,000 miles of jagged coastline of what was variously called Norumbega, North Virginia, or Cannada, but which Smith named New England. This land had been previously explored by the English, but while they had made observations and maps and interacted with the native inhabitants, Smith found that “the Coast is . . . even as a Coast unknowne and undiscovered.” The maps of the region, such as they were, were inaccurate. On a long, painstaking excursion along the coast in a shallop, accompanied by sailors and the Indian guide Squanto, Smith took careful compass readings and made ocean soundings. His Description of New England, published in 1616, which included a detailed map, became the standard for many years, the one used by such subsequent voyagers as the Pilgrims when they came to Plymouth in 1620. The Sea Mark is the first narrative history of Smith’s voyage of exploration, and it recounts Smith’s last years when, desperate to return to New England to start a commercial fishery, he languished in Britain, unable to persuade his backers to exploit the bounty he had seen there.
Russell Lawson is Professor of History at Bacone College, a Fulbright Scholar, and author of over a dozen books. He has a BA and MA from Oklahoma State University and a PhD from the University of New Hampshire. In 2010, Dr. Lawson was Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Transnational Studies at Brock University. Dr. Lawson teaches and writes on scientists and explorers; the history of America, Europe, and the world; and the history of ideas.
For more information, call Liz DeLucia, Director of Education, at 401-841-7276.