A world history of seagoing vessels and the people who sailed them occupies the outstanding Mariners' Museum, inside a 550-acre park. An alliance between the museum and the South Street Seaport Museum in New York City allows the two institutions to share collections, exhibitions, and educational programs. Among the more than 50 full-size craft on display are a Native American bark canoe, a sailing yacht, a speedboat, a gondola, a Coast Guard cutter, and a Chinese sampan.
In separate galleries you can often watch the progress of a boat under construction; view ornate and sometimes huge figureheads; examine the watermen's culture of the Chesapeake Bay; and learn about the history of the U.S. Navy. The museum also holds artifacts from the RMS Titanic and remains of the ironclad USS Monitor, which served in the 1862 Peninsula Campaign and was recovered from the coast of North Carolina. A 63,500-square-foot addition, the USS Monitor Center, houses the ironclad ship and Civil War exhibits.