ICMM is the world’s peak body for maritime museums. Since the early 1970s it has held a biennial conference where delegates network, share expertise, and learn about international best practices in the operation of maritime museums.
More than 100 participants from 20 countries joined ICMM 2015. It was the first conference of its kind in Asia and the first ICMM I have attended.
The President of ICMM, Mr Stephen White, said “The ICMM Congress offers unrivalled access for delegates to meet colleagues from near and far and discuss shared opportunities and issues in the capacity of maritime. This year’s conference theme – Connections – was chosen in order to maximise the opportunities for cross-cultural dialogue and exchange of ideas among worldwide museums.” The congress certainly achieved that.
Mr Frederick Kenney, Director, Legal Affairs and External Relations, International Maritime Organization; Mr Lincoln Paine, Trustee, Maine Maritime Museum and author of the acclaimed Sea and Civilization; and Dr Zhou Qunhua, Chief of Academic Research, China Maritime Museum were among the renowned speakers that presented and shared their experiences and expertise during the conference
I also enjoyed the maritime archeology presentations by my old friends and mentors, Fred Hocker, Director of Research at the Vasa Museum, and Christopher Dobbs, Head of Maritime Archaeology and Interpretation at the Mary Rose Museum, as well as those of all the new friends I had the pleasure to meet!
The six-day conference included an array of networking and social programs, such as a reception at Government House where delegates were welcomed by Mr CY Leung, the Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR; a celebratory gala dinner a the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal; cultural visits to Victoria Peak and Tai O; and tours to several local museums, including Jao Tsung-I Academy, Hong Kong Museum of History and Macau Maritime Museum.
A number of delegates joined post-conference overseas tours to Guangdong and Shanghai, visiting the popular Maritime Silk Road Museum of Guangdong and the China Maritime Museum, two of China’s largest maritime museums. As you saw from my last post, I want to the Maritime Silk Road Museum to see Nanhai 1 and it was incredible. More on that another day…
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to everyone who made the congress possible: the Hong Kong Maritime Museum, its sponsors, long-term patrons and partners; the Macao Maritime Museum for hosting an excursion to Macau; Swire Travel, the Conference Secretariat; and the lovely folk at the Ballina Naval and Maritime Museum who asked me to represent them. The gorgeous photos were taken by Not Rich Media and courtesy the Hong Kong Maritime Museum.
The local organising committee did an outstanding job! Other than IKUWA3, which I helped to organise on behalf of the Nautical Archaeology Society, back in 2008, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a better conference!