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NEWPORT NEWS-A lack of funding has temporarily sunk the lab that houses many large artifacts raised from the civil war ironclad USS Monitor.

The Mariners' Museum has a 5,000-square foot lab that houses the gun turret and other large artifacts.

An email to Museum supporters said an agreement with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Sanctuary Program expired at year's end. The museum in Newport News has had to foot the cost of conserving the artifacts.

'In 2013, the conservation cost was approximately $500,000. NOAA was only able to provide 10 percent of funding, and no funding was designated in 2012, the 150th anniversary of the Monitor's historic clash with the Confederate ironclad Virginia in Hampton Roads,' the memo stated.

Officials stress only the 'wet lab' is closed. The Monitor exhibition Ironclad Revolution is still open, as is the rest of the exhibition space at The Mariners' Museum.

The lab will re-open once funding from Congress had been secured, wrote Elliott Gruber, the museum's president and CEO.

He also appealed to the public to sign an online petition to legislators pressure them for funding to continue conservation efforts.

The ironclad was first discoverd in an area off North Carolina called the 'Graveyard of the Atlantic' off Cape Hatteras in 1973.

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