The Maritime Lecture series

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The Maritime Lecture series

Sara Wajid, Adult Learning Manager, discusses a new lecture series about the making of maritime icons.

Sara Wajid: Hi, I’m Sara Wajid, Adult Learning Manager here at the National Maritime Museum. I’d like to tell you about our next Maritime Lecture series which is called, The Making of Maritime Icons. Our lecture series run on Thursdays at 11 ’til one, and this one’s going to run for six weeks; you can either book for one lecture or the whole series if you like.

This particular session is inspired by our new Voyagers gallery, which is a permanent gallery, which is going to open in our extremely exciting new wing called The Sammy Ofer Wing; and Voyagers is really about how individuals help us explore maritime history.

And traditionally, since the 17th century, there’s been a trend towards hagiography, and sort of, these very reverential biographies of maritime heroes. Shall we say a classic example being Lord Nelson. But in recent years there’s been a trend away from this sort of idolisation if you want, to also include and broaden out into looking into everyday people’s lives, and their experience of maritime culture and what they feel about the sea really. And this new gallery, Voyagers, does that extremely well by looking; by slicing the cake differently and looking through emotional states at the sea; so, love or anger for instance. Also it revaluates some of the maritime icons that we’re familiar with. So, this lecture series is pretty much sort of tied to that idea, and inspired by that theme.

So, we are going to in this lecture series look at both why we’ve picked the kind of heroes and devils that we have in our own maritime history, and how they change over time. As well look at some of those icons, and unpack them a little bit.

And it’s going to be a combination of internal speakers; so drawing on our own very kind of knowledgeable, charismatic curators, as well as people from outside of the building. So, for instance, there’s an exhibition at the moment about Captain Kidd, and pirates have seen a resurgence, typified by interest, the film trilogy Pirates of the Caribbean. Now, the bad boys at the seas have become more sort of sexy if you will, in recent years. But there’s been a long tradition of British fascination with pirates, and it will be interesting to hear from Tom Wareham, the curator of this popular exhibition, about how he has gone about sort of capturing that interest. But also you know why they’ve chosen Captain Kidd at this moment in time, as someone to look at, and how representations of Kidd have changed over the centuries.So, that’s one of the talks you’ll be hearing.

Another one is about for instance Samuel Plimsoll, who is not the typical icon you might think of as a naval hero; he didn’t win any battles as such, but he has become sort of part of the culture and known, because of the Plimsoll line, and that was named after him. So, that’s a different kind of hero we can examine you know his story in some depth. And that will be Richard Gorski talking on Samuel Plimsoll.

So come to The Making of Maritime Icons if you want to know more from the experts about the heroes and villains of maritime history.

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