Public Event to Focus on Virginia’s Maritime Heritage

Published August 9, 2019
An archaeologist recovers musketball casks from the Betsy shipwreck.

Sponsored by DHR and hosted by The Mariners’ Museum and Park in Newport News, the half-day event will highlight how Virginia’s waterways have shaped the state’s history and commerce

On Saturday, August 24, between 9 a.m. and 12 noon, DHR will introduce a series of presentations focusing on how the commonwealth’s extensive network of bays and rivers has influenced and impacted the lives and commerce of Virginia’s citizens for more than 400 years, and how the public can become involved in a statewide effort to locate and protect maritime archaeological sites. The event, “In Search of Virginia’s Maritime Heritage,” will be hosted by The Mariners’ Museum and Park in Newport News. It is open to the public and admission is free. Because space is limited pre-registration is encouraged (
Presentations will highlight—
  • How Virginia’s waterways have shaped the state’s history from prehistoric times to the present, with an emphasis on how that history is revealed through shipwrecks and other underwater archaeological resources;
  • How Virginians’ use of the commonwealth’s bays, rivers, and tributaries has changed over 400 years;
  • How underwater archaeologists extract history from beneath the waters;
  • How nongovernmental organizations can contribute to research, management, and protection of underwater archaeological sites;
  • How Florida’s Public Archaeology Network has developed partnerships that involve the public in stewardship of buried cultural resources; and
  • How the public can get involved in Virginia’s Underwater Archaeology Program.
Speakers will include Bruce Terrell, an archaeologist and historian with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries; Patrick Brendan Burke, the associate director of archaeological research at St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum in Florida; Della Scott-Ireton, associate director of the Florida Public Archaeology Network at the University of West Florida; and John D. Broadwater, acting state underwater archaeologist with DHR. The day’s event will conclude with a question-and-answer session, after which attendees will be invited to visit The Mariners’ Museum. To register for the event in advance, please visit this link: If you plan to attend, you will need to enter the museum through the business entrance. See these directions. For more information about the event or for assistance with registering, please contact John Broadwater at 757-645-7836. “In Search of Virginia’s Maritime Heritage” is made possible by a grant from Virginia Humanities, which connects people and ideas to explore the human experience and inspire cultural engagement. As the state humanities council, Virginia Humanities reaches millions in its estimated annual audience through festivals, grants, fellowships, digital initiatives, teacher institutes, radio programs, podcasts, apprenticeships, and school programs.  Headquartered at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia Humanities works to serve Virginians in every corner of the Commonwealth.  To learn more visit The Mariners' Museum and Park connects people to the world's waters because through the water – through our shared maritime heritage – we are connected to one another. The organization is an educational, non-profit institution accredited by the American Alliance of Museums and preserves and interprets maritime history through an international collection of ship models, figureheads, paintings, and other maritime artifacts. The Mariners’ Museum is home to the USS Monitor Center, and is surrounded by the 550-acre Mariners’ Museum Park, one of the largest privately maintained parks open to the public in North America. The Mariners’ Museum Library is the largest maritime library in the Western hemisphere. Because of the Museum’s world-class collection and its reputation for high-level exhibits and programs, in 1999, the U.S. Congress designated The Mariners’ Museum as one of only two maritime museums that comprise America’s National Maritime Museum. In an effort to provide access to the incredible stories told through the collection to all guests, admission to the Museum is now only $1 per person. For hours and information, visit, call (757) 596-2222 or write to The Mariners' Museum, 100 Museum Drive, Newport News, VA 23606.  
Photograph by Wendy Musumeci/DHR, June 8, 2024.

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