Maritime Museums and the Future

October marked the biennial meeting of the International Congress of Maritime Museums in Washington D.C. and Newport News, Virginia. This year's theme: connecting with the future. Museums are facing a crisis of identity and funding. Admissions are down, as are philanthropy, government support, and corporate sponsorships. What does it really mean to connect to the future? What might a future museum look like? Will it simply be a leaner version of its current self, or will it be completely transformed into a new virtuality?

In this episode of World Ocean Radio, host Peter Neill discusses what may be missing, outlining a number of ideas for discovering new ways to connect with visitors beyond the boats and technology--by connecting through stories of people and places, capturing a forgotten spirit of folkcraft, lore, song and custom that surrounds the reality and the idea of the sea and is inextricably linked to all maritime history.

Photo: Lewis Hine: The Maine Child Labor Photographs

This traveling exhibition of photographs of children working in the textile and canning industries of the early 1900's is at the Creative Photographic Arts Center in Lewiston through mid-March, 782-1369. The Center and the Quoddy Maritime Museum in Eastport received grants from MHC to support this exhibit. Photo courtesy of Susan Brown Stoddard, the Quoddy Maritime Museum, and the Library of Congress.