Charting a Course for Maritime Heritage Education: A Maritime Heritage Education Conference

The first-ever Maritime Heritage Education Conference was a successful three-day conference, which brought together 130 participants to promote maritime heritage education and to expose teachers, museum educators and maritime specialists to the significance of connecting past cultures and traditions to present day coastal and waterways practices.

Dr. Robert Ballard talks with Dan Basta.
Dr. Robert Ballard talks with Dan Basta. (Photo: Tane Casserley, NOAA/MNMS)

The conference reached educators from a variety of levels (kindergarten through university), as well as marine archaeologists, museum directors and participants from various organizations to highlight how maritime heritage can be brought alive with education.

Dr. Robert Ballard - explorer, author, television producer, scientist, naval officer, educator, and Titanic discoverer - was the keynote speaker on Friday, Nov. 18, during the first ever Maritime Heritage Education Conference held at The National Maritime Center, Nov. 18-20, 2005.

Aboard the Spirit of Norfolk.
Aboard the Spirit of Norfolk. (Photo: David Alberg/NOAA-MNMS)

Nauticus, The National Maritime Center in Norfolk, VA, was the host location November 18 - 20, 2005 with a wine and cheese gathering on November 17th. Participants were joined from all over the country for guest plenary speakers, concurrent sessions, roundtable discussions, a book room and social gatherings.

Themes for the conference included maritime heritage related education topics such as lighthouses, lifesaving stations, whaling and fishing heritage, native canoe cultures, shipping and port heritage, shipboard education, and of course...shipwrecks!

Conference coordinator Kate Thompson talks with a conference attendee.
Conference coordinator Kate Thompson talks with a conference attendee. (Photo: Christine Arrasate/Nauticus)
On Friday, November 18, participants were treated to a trip back in time as they hopped on a charter bus to visit The Mariners' Museum in Newport News, VA sponsored by the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary. One of the largest international maritime history museums, Mariners' is filled with prized artifacts that celebrate the spirit of seafaring adventure.

Conference participants working with the the Monitor's Mock Shipwreck.
Conference participants working with the the Monitor's Mock Shipwreck. (Photo: Christine Arrasate/Nauticus)
Participants explored over 60,000 square feet of gallery space with rare figureheads, handcrafted ship models, paintings, small craft and of course the premier display of the U.S.S. Monitor artifacts. On Saturday, November 19, all gathered for a special dinner cruise aboard the Spirit of Norfolk on the historic Elizabeth River, which was included in the $135.00 conference registration.

Download the full conference program


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