2020 Session 9

Session 9: Museums, Public Outreach and Conservation


Trade along the Maritime Silk Road has been going on for many centuries. Museum collections show a visible record of objects that were traded and historical sources provide important information of how this developed over time. Since the 1970’s many shipwrecks have been discovered that give an even better understanding of this intricate network. While more and more of these shipwreck are now being excavated in an archaeological manner, in the past most of them were salvaged for mainly commercial purposes. Many of these pieces have end up in museum collections. In this session several museums and institutions will give their approach on how they present this material, whether from an archaeological excavation, a commercial salvage or both. Which issues are addressed and what message do they convey to a wider public? The Princessehof will present about their current exhibition Sunken Treasures showing ceramic cargo from various shipwrecks. Featured will be a selection of 7 shipwrecks – from the 9th to 19th century – that show the long and rich history of the Maritime Silk Road. To highlight the vital role of underwater archaeology to preserve this history the museum cooperates with the Dutch Cultural Agency (RCE). The RCE will provide their view in this session on presenting this kind of material and the issues that come at play, including the controversy involved. The National Museum of Korea will present about the Sinan shipwreck. In 2016 the museum had a major exhibition on the Sinan shipwreck, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the excavation in 1976. It marked the beginning of underwater archaeology in Korea. The museum now still has a permanent display to tell the story of this remarkable find that contained crucial information on trade between China and Japan in the 14th century.


Session Organisers:

Eline van den Berg
Curator Asian Ceramics
Princessehof National Museum of Ceramics
Leeuwarden, The Netherlands

Youngmi Kim
Curator Asian Department
National Museum of Korea,Seoul, Korea

Martijn Manders
Head International Maritime Programme RCE
The Netherlands / Professor Maritime Archaeology Leiden University