Case Studies

Creating Ocean Citizens for a Safer World

National Maritime Museum

Grant Awarded: £1,000,000

Timeframe: 2024-2029



The Lloyd's Register Foundation is renewing its support to the National Maritime Museum in London with a new 5-year programme. The programme is building on the work of the Curator of Contemporary Maritime Impacts, which started in 2018. The National Maritime Museum has since tested and developed innovative ways of increasing knowledge of the maritime system and ocean literacy through conferences, learning programmes, special exhibitions and annual events like World Oceans Day. The new programme aims to increase international reach and reputation, engaging with new partners and creating more active Ocean Citizens.

We rely on the ocean for our survival, yet public awareness of ocean and maritime systems still needs to grow. In a time of ecological and climate crisis, there is a pressing need to increase ocean literacy, creating active Ocean Citizens able to engage with decisions relating to long-time sustainability at both an individual and societal level.

The next five years present a significant opportunity for the contemporary Maritime Impacts Strategy to evolve and grow. A major strand will focus on increasing the digital capacity and expertise of the curatorial team to reach new and broader global audiences. Another important strand is the rewriting of women in maritime history, which will require further research into collections, amending catalogue entries and ensuring the stories are woven throughout object displays and maritime programmes.


The programme will deliver a series of activities on various topics, engaging the audiences in varied ways. Years 1 and 2 will see a programme to trial different engagement methods with the oral history recordings, including working with students in Higher and Further Education to develop creative responses to the stories using new digital content. This collection has not been available to researchers or the public for several decades. It comprises personal accounts of life at sea from the 1890s to the 1960s, broadening the stories the Museum can tell.

A series of events tailored to the Museum's different audiences will take place throughout the year, promoting the key messaging of the programme. World Oceans Day in June will be a public family festival at the Museum designed to promote awareness of the importance of ocean health and the risks to the ocean and the planet. The Maritime Connections event will be held in April and will invite senior representatives of the maritime industries for an evening of networking and discussion about a key topic. A bi-annual conference will bring together a unique blend of academics, maritime workers and industry bodies to discuss and debate the important issues of

the day. Further work will be undertaken to strengthen the relationship between the Museum and the International Congress of Maritime Museums, to build international partnerships through collaborative online events, research programmes and conferences.

The Our Ocean Our Planet initiative, the online home of the Museum's contemporary programme, will see further investment to improve and grow it as a high-profile platform for the public and researchers. The work towards Rewriting Women into Maritime History will be reflected on this online hub, as will the newly digitised oral histories.

The programme will also inform a temporary exhibition showcasing high-profile display projects bringing contemporary issues alongside major historical collections. The Museum is working with the RNLI to mark its 200th anniversary in 2024 to display oral histories, crew photographs, sustainability and safety at sea. The Museum is also working with the National Maritime Museum Cornwall to develop and deliver a special exhibition on the history of Pirates, to be displayed in the Special Exhibitions Gallery in 2025. As well as targeting families, this exhibition presents an exciting opportunity to discuss contemporary piracy and the law of the sea in a separate gallery for primarily an adult audience.