A major new edition of the definitive handbook introducing the many fascinating aspects of maritime curatorship has been updated and is now available online.
A Manual of Maritime Curatorship is an accessible ‘first-stop shop’ guide for those working in museum and heritage fields who are not necessarily maritime specialists but need to care for and interpret maritime material – as well as those working directly in a maritime field.
This new edition is a collaborative effort by members of the UK Maritime Heritage Network (UKMHN) which is the Subject Specialist Network for maritime heritage in the UK and Northern Ireland.
The Manual has now been published online by network members the SS Great Britain Trust and Royal Museums Greenwich (National Maritime Museum) as well as network partners: Collections Trust, National Historic Ships, International Congress of Maritime Museums, and the Association of Independent Museums.
The first edition was published in 2002 with support from the UK South West Museums Council, but the Manual has now been substantially updated with input from a range of specialist maritime contributors and the generous support of Arts Council England.
This new edition has already been presented to international maritime museums and archives by the SS Great Britain Trust at the ICMM Congress in Valparaiso, Chile, and at a seminar held at the Hong Kong Maritime Museum.
The Director of Royal Museums Greenwich, Dr Kevin Fewster, says: “This Manual provides an excellent overview of the extraordinarily broad and deep knowledge of the maritime world built up by curators and others over many decades. Now fully updated, it is of inestimable value to the increasing number of curators today who have responsibility for maritime collections but lack the necessary subject expertise to interpret them for their audiences.”
Chief Executive of the SS Great Britain Trust, Dr Matthew Tanner, has been closely involved in the original and updated editions of the Manual, as both editor and author. He adds: “In creating this new edition of the manual, we wanted to ensure the particular features of the maritime heritage industry were made as accessible as possible to the widest range of people working in museums and heritage. This included making the Manual searchable online for the first time.”
Now available via the Royal Museums Greenwich (National Maritime Museum) and the SS Great Britain Trust websites as well as partner websites, the Manual has nine chapters, including Ships, Fittings, Nautical Skills, Shore Support, Maritime Culture, Practice and an indispensable glossary to help unpick some of the specific language used within maritime heritage.
The Manual was first published in 2002 and had four original editors: Andy King (Bristol Industrial Museum), Brian Lavery (National Maritime Museum), Dr Matthew Tanner (SS Great Britain Trust), and Captain Chris Young (Royal Navy). This new edition has been substantially updated and improved by Brian Lavery, with staff from Royal Museums Greenwich (National Maritime Museum), Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust and SS Great Britain working extensively on the document in turn.
The SS Great Britain Trust’s Maritime Curator Joanna Thomas, who is also Secretary of the UKMHN, made a major contribution to the update of this second edition, along with the Trust’s Strategy and Research Officer Fiona Kingston.