In 1937, Archer Huntington met a community need in founding The Mariners’ Museum and Park in Newport News, Virginia — a city that was built to support the local shipbuilding industry. Steeped in a culture teeming with maritime connections, The Mariners’ Museum and Park strives to connect visitors to the water, because through the water, we are all connected to each other.

Throughout the 90,000 square feet of exhibitions, the museum houses priceless artifacts, each telling a fascinating story. Exhibitions including the USS Monitor Center, miniature ship models, America’s Cup racing catamarans, and naval warfare and history, pull visitors in as they discover how they are connected to the water.

Whether visiting for an afternoon or a few days, the museum and park has more than enough to entertain, educate and enthrall groups.

Itinerary Stops (done in a half-day agenda to highlight the most popular options for groups)

  • 9 a.m.: Arrival
  • 9–10:30 a.m.: Guided tour of The Mariners’ Museum
  • 10:30–11:30 a.m.: Handling History Presentation
  • 11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.: Explorers Theater 3D Movie
  • 12:15–1 p.m.: Box lunches in the Museum Cafe


Tour of The Mariners’ Museum

Photo: The Mariner’s Museum and Park
USS Monitor Center exhibit engine room schematic, The Mariner’s Museum and Park, Newport News, Va.

Either take in the highlights through a guided tour with one of our knowledgeable docents, or create your own adventure by browsing on your own! Tours can be tailored to focus on galleries of interest to your group, or you can choose to experience your favorite parts of the museum independently. A minimum of 1 1/2 hours is recommended for a guided tour to see all the highlights the museum has to offer! 

Handling History Presentation

Photo: The Mariner’s Museum and Park
USS Monitor Center exhibit artifact, The Mariner’s Museum and Park. Newport News, Va.

Only 2% of the Museum’s vast collection of more than 35,000 artifacts is on display – which means there is a LOT to see behind the scenes! Our Collections Management staff will pick a variety of artifacts that interest your group during this special presentation, which may even taken place in a workshop space. Depending on the objects, you may be able to touch or hold them, and you will definitely be able to take pictures!

Explorers Theater 3D Movie

Photo: The Mariner’s Museum and Park
Explorers Theater, The Mariner’s Museum and Park, Newport News, Va.

Experience thrilling 3-D films and other feature films covering a wide range of maritime topics in this high-definition theater. Private showings for larger groups are available! There are two films showing daily, and each typically run about 40 minutes. Whether you enjoy beautiful ocean scenery or an action-filled experience of how we’re all connected by the water, these films are great for all groups. 

Box lunches

Order box lunches from local restaurants with a variety of menu options! Groups can enjoy their lunch in the museum cafe space or a banquet space. You can even order to-go, if you’re looking to hit the road to your next tour stop destination! Add on a costumed interpreter to your lunch to liven up the experience and interact with history in a new way. 

The Mariner’s Museum and Park