The University of Southampton
HumanitiesPostgraduate study

ARCH6120 Maritime Museums and Heritage Management

Module Overview

As maritime archaeology becomes an increasingly mainstream part of the discipline of archaeology, public awareness of the importance of protecting, managing and disseminating maritime cultural heritage assumes a heightened importance. At the same time, climate change and the ever-increasing exploitation of the seas and oceans around our coasts dictate that maritime heritage, either in the terrestrial, coastal or marine zone, is facing more threats than ever before. This module explores the range of threats that currently face maritime cultural heritage assets and ways in which maritime heritage is, or could be, protected through statutory legislation and is managed on a day to day basis in a range of national contexts, both within the UK and abroad. Additionally, the module also addresses the way that maritime cultural heritage is presented to the public and the manner in which the public can be encouraged to engage with it. Museums, education, outreach and capacity building are highlighted as key ways in which maritime cultural heritage can be protected, managed and presented for the 21st century. You will be exposed to a number of experts in the field who currently work at the forefront of maritime heritage management in the UK and abroad.

Aims and Objectives


The aims of this module are to introduce several key aspects of maritime cultural heritage management.

Knowledge and Understanding
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the following areas:

  • The breadth, variety and issues relating to maritime cultural heritage;
  • The considerations and problems facing heritage managers in the marine zone;
  • Different approaches to maritime heritage protection legislation on a local, regional and international level;
  • Different ways in which maritime heritage can be disseminated through a museums and other media contexts;
  • The opportunities and approaches provided by education and outreach programmes for maritime heritage.

Cognitive (thinking) skills
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Assimilate and synthesise broad theories and models relating to the management and protection of terrestrial and underwater cultural heritage.
  • Discuss and propose the most appropriate methods for managing a specific heritage asset.
  • Identify effective and non-effective methods for the dissemination of maritime heritage through education and outreach programmes, including museums
  • Think about the relevance of the sea and maritime cultures to the wider heritage sector within modern day context.
  • Undertake independent research into the above areas.

Practical (subject specific) skills
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Evaluate and critique past and current theoretical and methodological approaches to maritime heritage management across the sector.
  • Display a depth of knowledge relating to the threats to maritime heritage management and its current context within the UK and other countries.
  • Assess the effectiveness of management regimes for specific case-studies/site types.
  • Design and produce material for education and outreach relating to maritime heritage.
  • Be aware of the different approaches to the communication of the maritime heritage through museum display.

Key transferable skills
Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Undertake research in an independent capacity or as part of a team/group.
  • Demonstrate oral skills in the presentation of research, either individually or as part of a group.
  • Produce academic/commercial standard reports and presentation.


Typically, the syllabus will cover:


• Heritage: its value & the threats

• Protection & Legislation: The UK as a case study

• Protection & Legislation: UNESCO & International Perspectives

• Regulators, curators & contractors: Integrated marine heritage management

• Capacity Building, education and outreach

• Media and maritime presentation


Special Features

 Museum Trips


Title Activity
Museums: presenting the past 1

Lecture and museum trip 1

(Royal Museums Greenwich)

Museums: presenting the past 2

Lecture and museum trip 2


Museums: presenting the past 3

Lecture and museum trip 3

(Mary Rose & Portsmouth Dockyard)

Museums: presenting the past 4 Seminar


Learning and Teaching

Study time allocation

Contact hours:33
Private study hours:117
Total study time: 150 hours

Teaching and learning methods

You will gain access to a number of experts and an insight into the considerations and workings of a very common route for future employment. Much of this knowledge will be gained first hand through visits to organisations and museums and through lecturers provided by the key experts in their fields. Trips include the British Museum, English Heritage, SeaCity Southampton, and Wessex Archaeology.
Teaching methods include formal lectures (2 hours) to disseminate key information and informal seminar round-table discussions (2 hours) where you will have the chance to present and discuss your own ideas based on individual research agendas.

Learning methods include:

  • Directed learning through lectures/seminars
  • Guided self-study
  • Oral presentation
  • Completion of assignments
  • Use of online resources and of library resources

Resources and reading list

Indicative Reading List

Ambrose T & Paine C. 2006 Museum Basics. Routledge

Beavis, J & Hunt, A. (eds). (1999). Communicating Archaeology. Oxford: Oxbow Books

Carman, J., 2002 Archaeology and Heritage: An Introduction. Continuum: London.

Day, A. & Lunn, K., 2003 British Maritime Heritage: carried along by the currents? International Journal of Heritage Studies, 9, 289-305.

Dean, D., 2002. Museum Exhibition: Theory and Practice. United Kingdom: Routledge.

Jameson, J.H. (1997). Presenting Archaeology to the Public: Digging for Truths. London: Sage Hill Publication.

McManamon, F. P., 2000 Archaeological messages and messengers. Public Archaeology 1(1): 5-20

Merriman, N. (ed.), 2004 Public Archaeology. Routledge: London.

Smith, H.D. & Couper, A.D. 2003. The management of the underwater cultural heritage. Journal of Cultural Heritage 4.1: 25-33

Spirek, J. D. and Scott-Ireton, D.A. (eds.), 2003 Submerged cultural resource management: preserving and interpreting our maritime heritage Plenum Publishers: New York.

Swain, H 2007. An Introduction to Museum Archaeology, Cambridge

Zimmerman, L. J. (2003). Presenting the Past: Archaeologist’s Toolkit Volume 7. New York: Altamira Press

UNESCO 2001. Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage. Paris: UNESCO; links:


Assessment methods

  • Individual or in Pairs Class Presentations (10 minutes) - 30%
  • Research essay (3000 words) - 70%


Assignment One (30%): Individual / Pairs Class Presentation (10 minutes).

You will be asked to present a short overview (max ten mins) of the current maritime cultural legislation and the history behind the formation of the legislation in a pre-selected country. Each presentation is designed to highlight the breadth of different approaches to and value that is placed on maritime heritage worldwide. It should also be noted whether or not the particular state or country has endorsed the UNESCO Convention.

The assignment will also allow you to demonstrate your ability to conduct independent focused research. You will have the chance to assess the value of different approaches and present in the form of an oral presentation. You will be permitted only two slides maximum for your accompanying power point presentation

Assignment Two (70%): Research Essay (3,000 words)

You will be asked to submit an essay that addresses one of the themes discussed in the course to date. This could be concerning museums, engagement and communication, heritage management, legislation, capacity building, outreach and education or media. A number of sample essays will be presented that students are free to choice from or alternatively you can design your own essay title after agreement with the module convenor. Topics to be considered can include analyse and discussion of the effectiveness of for example, a museum gallery or display that they have visited that addresses maritime cultural heritage OR a particular media that attempts to communicate issues relating to maritime cultural heritage (TV, web, radio etc). Alternatively you can compare maritime heritage management strategies in different contexts, or develop a concept for an education and outreach resource, designed around a maritime archaeological theme. Your essays should offer constructive critique of the gallery or media or management approach and assess its design, content, application and where appropriate, accessibility to the general public. The subsequent essay should be thought of as a short paper that is potentially publishable in a refereed journal. As such, it should be appropriately structured, referenced, draw upon suitable archaeological case studies to validate any theoretical claims and be illustrated as required.


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