Case Studies

Global Maritime Histories

Case Studies for Change

Grant awarded: £1,029,578

Timeframe: 2023-2029



Global Maritime Histories is a programme developed in collaboration with the International Congress of Maritime Museums (ICMM), which will deliver new and authoritative perspectives into the urgent debate about how to address global safety and sustainability challenges in the maritime economy.

The programme will leverage the outreach programmes of more than 120 member museums to act as professional 'storytellers', a key component in understanding and promoting change. The activities will be designed around material that enriches understanding of the human experience of past transitions and the history of technical developments related to a safe and sustainable future.

Organisations such as UNESCO and ICOMOS emphasise the importance of historical insight to inform strategies for dealing with global issues such as climate change. However, cultural institutions and public bodies need more funding, training, and capacity to participate fully in advocacy for the change we need. The programme will address this crucial capacity-building challenge and benefit from the unprecedented engagement opportunities provided by the Cultural Heritage Network of the UN Decade of Ocean Science to promote Ocean Stewardship.

The programme will allow the ICMM to build capacity in a global network of museum professionals and increase its impact on local communities and ocean stewardship initiatives.


The project will consist of three two-year phases, with the core activity of soliciting and funding individual research and engagement projects within museum partners, especially the proposals coming from diverse and less-resourced institutions. The projects will support local voices in a global context of maritime environment issues, encourage ocean literacy in visitors, and equip policymakers with case studies of successes and lessons learned.

Phase One will establish the staffing and refine the research themes and engagement plans. The research themes explored by the programme will include sustainable maritime decarbonisation and energy transition, the impact of human activities on the oceans' health, and experiences of current and past climate change on coastal communities. Phase Two and Three will see the development of the individual projects, and research themes will build on the work done during the previous phase. Network building and consolidation of the relationship with the museum partners will continue.

The programme will support the local role of the maritime museums in the network in encouraging public displays and content with a single voice on ocean literacy and the global marine environment for its visitors and online users. This will enhance the museums' role in promoting the key themes of the programme and demonstrate how cultural heritage assets can deliver research that may support solutions for sustainability and ocean health concerns.