January is “Be a Tourist in Your Own Town” month here in Charleston, which means we’re getting into all the tourist things really cheap.
Today we visited the museum/conservatory where the Confederate submersible H. L. Hunley lies suspended in a really big tank of water. (If you’re unfamiliar with the remarkable story of this once-lost vessel — the first submarine to sink an enemy warship — check out Wikipedia.)
While I generally love museums — no doubt because I can’t get enough of learning — I really wasn’t expecting much at the Hunley. I mean, it’s an iron vessel in a tank of water. What’s the big deal?
Well, I’m pleased to say I enjoyed it immensely. Yes, I learned quite a bit. But beyond that I was impressed on an emotional level with what those eight crewmen went through here in the waters of Charleston on the night of 17 February 1864. It was, dare I say it, moving.
It was also, from a technical side, quite cool to see how they’re preserving the vessel and its associated artifacts. It’s a really big tank.