On anniversary of battle of ironclads, USS Monitor center opens in Virginia

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NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- Exactly 145 years after the USS Monitor faced the Confederate ship CSS Virginia in the first clash of ironclads, a $30 million center dedicated to the Union vessel opened Friday.

The Monitor Center, a new wing of The Mariners' Museum, houses more than 1,200 artifacts from the Civil War ship and an interactive exhibition on both armored vessels...

The Monitor, a new design, and the Virginia, built atop the burned-out hull of the Union steam frigate Merrimack, fought to a draw on March 9, 1862, near where the museum now stands. The battle made wooden warships obsolete...

Galleries tell how the ironclads were built and feature efforts to recover artifacts from the deteriorating wreckage of the Monitor, which sank, upside down, during a storm 16 miles off North Carolina's coast on Dec. 31, 1862. Sixteen men died...

Outside, visitors can stroll the deck of a 170-foot, full-scale exterior model of the Monitor.

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