President's Page : Stephen C White

President's Page : Stephen C White


Dear Colleagues,

This message, which is in our first 2017 newsletter, as well as here on my President’s Page on the ICMM website, has as its theme digitisation in maritime museums.

For all of us, digitising our collections has been an ongoing priority for at least the past two decades, and with improved technologies and increased demand for digital records, we thought that it would make for a timely topic. I hope you find the articles in the newsletter both interesting and helpful examples for your consideration.

In March 2017 we hosted the ICMM Executive Council meeting here in Mystic. This was the first time in many, many years that the annual EC Meeting has been on this side of the Atlantic, and we were thrilled to have the ICMM leadership with us to complete the regular business of the organisation, to prepare for the 2017 Congress in Valparaiso (more on that in a minute), and to consider the bids for the 2019 Congress. I’m pleased that we had this opportunity to share Mystic Seaport with the EC members; for some this was their very first visit to Mystic Seaport.

ICMM membership 2017

We recently sent out invoices for your 2017 ICMM membership. And we ask that you renew as quickly as possible. We are working towards ultimately automating this process, and this may well be the last year that we do our renewals via regular mail. We increased the number of members slightly in 2016, and we have several new members already applying for 2017. Expanding the reach of our membership is an important goal for ICMM, and we will be looking at ways in which to expand membership in a variety of areas during 2017 in advance of the Valparaiso ICMM Congress. Thank you for your loyalty to the organisation.

ICMM 2017 Congress website

Regarding Valparaiso, the website for the Congress went live shortly after the Executive Council meeting, and we ask that you register as quickly as possible.

There are several special events for which we need some lead-time based on numbers. You will see that the Museo Marítimo Nacional de Chile (our hosts for the 2019 Congress), under the leadership of Cristian del Real Perez, has provided us with a marvelous website regarding the Congress that should answer all of our questions regarding our upcoming visit to Chile. Please take the time to look through the entire website, register for the Congress, choose your hotel, and prepare yourself for what should be an outstanding Congress, being held for the very first time in South America.

I’d like to take this opportunity to once again thank all members of the Executive Council for their service to the organisation and to specifically thank Alan Edenborough (Australia) for his oversight of our website and Ursula Warnke (Germany) for her work on our newsletters with Alan. All of our lives are extremely busy, and we are grateful for the extra time that these individuals carve out in service to the mission of ICMM.

One of our goals this past year was to improve the nature and effectiveness of our communication with you. I think we’ve made progress. Enjoy the newsletter and our website!

Stephen C. White President ICMM / President & CEO, Mystic Seaport


Previous President's Letters



4th Quarter 2016

 Dear Colleagues,

It’s my pleasure to communicate with you again via the quarterly Newsletter. Perhaps you are receiving this in your email inbox, or perhaps you are seeing it on our brand new website which just recently went live. As you know, we made a pledge to improve the manner in which we communicate and the regularity of same, and I hope you will spend some time enjoying our new website which we will continue to build out over time.

A huge debt of gratitude goes out to Alan Edenborough (Sydney Heritage Fleet) for his commitment to the website over these last several years, and for his vision in creating a more effective interface between our members, curious maritime enthusiasts, and the maritime museums from around the world. We trust that you will find that this new platform better serves your needs, and I hope you will give us some feedback regarding the site and how it might serve as a positive platform for communication.

Speaking of feedback, we were delighted to learn that our readers enjoyed the theme of marine archaeology in our last newsletter, and it has sparked a number of communications and discussions regarding other works in progress in different parts of the world. This is exactly what we had hoped to achieve as we network more and more, and as we share our viewpoints and perspectives on topics meaningful to maritime heritage.
Historic ships the theme

Historic ships the theme

This newsletter has as its focus historic and traditional ships. If you are reading this on the website, all the newsletter content is here, too. This particular topic is of great interest to many maritime museums and program operators who wrestle with the very specific and often daunting challenges that larger vessels present. For the last four years or so an informal panel of historic and traditional ship experts has been meeting periodically to talk about how we, ICMM and our friends, can help the historic and traditional ship community deal with national and international regulations, the care and upkeep of traditional vessels, registries, and the different challenges that face keepers of vessels in use under their own power and static ones, such as dock-side museum vessels. In this newsletter, you will find a variety of articles pertaining to historic and traditional ships, and we will try to direct you to a range of places where you can gather additional information as time permits.

With respect to Mystic Seaport, we are happy to report that one of our historic and traditional vessels is back in the water and moving towards being operational again. About a year and a half ago, Sabino was hauled at Mystic Seaport for a major restoration. Sabino is a coal-fired steam vessel that has been operating on the Mystic River since 1974. Built in 1908, Sabino is one of the last coal-fired steam-powered vessels still carrying passengers, and she was due for a major restoration. She is one of four National Historic Landmark vessels under the care of Mystic Seaport. To learn more about the Sabino project, please see the article in the newsletter or on the website.

Stephen C. White

President ICMM / President & CEO, Mystic Seaport




3rd Quarter 2016

Dear colleagues,

First of all, it was marvellous to see so many of you in Hong Kong for the 2015 Congress in early November, and I wish to thank those present for the confidence that you have shown in me to serve as president of the organization. We know ICMM to be an important member organization that serves a critical role as a means for communication, professional networking, and advocacy. For over forty years now the organization and the Congresses have provided maritime museum professionals with a means for collaboration, which in turn leads us on a pathway to embrace best practice.

Regarding the 2015 Congress in Hong Kong, we wish to thank the Hong Kong Maritime Museum and its community for their exemplary efforts in hosting such a comprehensive Congress, led by museum director Richard Wesley (an ICMM Executive Council member), supported by his extraordinary HKMM team, Swire Travel, and a host of impressive sponsors.

We will long remember both the setting and the program that fully embraced the theme of connections. Of course, Victoria Harbour was the perfect setting for such a theme and for the first Congress held in Asia. The combination of outstanding presentations delivered in a room with three picture windows looking out onto the bustling harbor gave our 100+ attendees the best of both worlds: inspirational papers and an inspiring setting.

In Hong Kong, we explored the past and the heritage of trade while looking from the present and into the future in a port that is one of the global leaders in maritime trade today. In this environment, we were confronted with the juxtaposition of past and present, and thanks to a well-planned Congress, including our trip to Macau and to several museums in Macau and Hong Kong, the overall program illuminated our understanding of these parallel worlds.

Congress Keynotes

Our two keynote speakers also took us on a voyage through an appreciation of our rich maritime heritage in addition to the present challenges facing the use of our seas. Lincoln Paine, author of The Sea and Civilisation: A Maritime History of the World (2013) gave us much to think about regarding our global maritime history and the responsibility of maritime museums to express the tremendous depth and breadth of that heritage in a manner that is compelling and relevant. He also shared with us four key reasons why maritime museums are important today, but that is a subject for another article.

Frederick Kenney, Director, Legal Affairs and External Relations Division for the International Maritime Organization (IMO), helped us understand the important mission of IMO, its priorities moving forward, and how collaboration between IMO and ICMM might well be mutually beneficial. There is great opportunity here for ICMM to exercise its voice as an effective advocate for international maritime matters.

The program committee, led by Nigel Rigby of Royal Museums Greenwich, provided us with a robust and deep program for which we are most grateful. Steps are underway to gather the abstracts of the presentations to be posted on this website so that those of you who could not join us would have the opportunity to get a sense of what we enjoyed in Hong Kong. If an abstract looks interesting to you, please contact the presenter directly for more information on the paper. I also encourage all of you who did attend the Hong Kong Congress to complete the conference evaluation form, as your input is enormously helpful as we craft the next Congress. In case you’ve lost yours, please click here to obtain a printable copy.

Leadership team 2015-2017

Some twenty countries joined us for the Congress, which is impressive in its own right for a destination far away for so many of the delegates. It is a real testament to the leadership of outgoing president Kevin Fewster, who infused a tremendous amount of energy and direction into our organization over the past two years so that we might sustain the original mission of ICMM and continue to move forward. I wish to thank Kevin and his Executive Council for their work in addressing some of the challenges that any volunteer organization like ICMM faces when it comes to administrative work.

I’m happy to announce the new leadership for the organization, and please click here to see the entire membership of the Executive Council, both those members who were elected in accordance with the organization’s constitution, and those who have been co-opted to join us in our work.

I wish to thank Marika Hedin of the Museum Gustavianum for agreeing to serve as Vice President, Frits Loomeijer (Maritiem Museum Rotterdam) as interim Treasurer, and Sally Archer (Royal Museums Greenwich) as the Secretary General. We have much to work on over the next several months, and the Executive Council will have its annual meeting in mid-March at its usual location of Greenwich, England. In my next newsletter, I will lay out some of the priorities for the Executive Council in 2016, but it’s important that we hear from you regarding those areas within the organization that through modification could better serve your needs as a member. In addition, please let us know if you are willing to serve the organization in some capacity.

Membership reminder

I close by saying thank you to all of you who are paying members of ICMM. As always, it will be a priority for us to continue to grow the membership so that we have the resources required to function well as a member-based organization. Those of you who have read this far and realize that you may not be listed as a member organization, you can check that by clicking here; if you are not on the list please remit your membership subscription payment as soon as possible. The membership rates are here.

Stephen C. White,

President and CEO, Mystic Seaport Museum, Inc.





Maritime Museums Worldwide may apply for FULL institutional membership of ICMM; individuals for Associate membership

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