Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund, round 11
The museum was awarded £90,500 for Sea History Differently, to conserve and interpret its significant boat collections, involving audiences in consultation, co-curation and work-based skills training, and to deliver exhibitions in Great Yarmouth and other venues in the East of England.
Johanna O’Donoghue, curator
About the project
The project encompassed a wide range of activities aimed at transforming access to Time and Tide’s fantastic maritime and historic boat collections. These included specialist boat conservation involving volunteers from local communities and enhanced collections documentation and research. This provided a starting point for community co-curation of an exhibition at Time and Tide that was used to create a range of touring displays.
One of the three fishing vessels permanently on display in the courtyard of the Time and Tide Museum is The Coronation YH671, a Clinker built shrimp fishing boat, made in Great Yarmouth in 1902 by Beeching & Bros. The Yarmouth Shrimper was a product of the boom in seaside holidays during the Victorian period.
Shrimp fishermen aimed to get home to boil their catch of shrimps in time to sell to visitors out for their afternoon walk. Vessels like the Coronation have been the subject of comparatively little research, so the enhancement of digital records as well as improved interpretation is a key component of this project.
Alongside an enhanced visitor experience, the restoration of such a centrepiece of the Time and Tide displays provided another long-term benefit through the conservation work on the boat; training volunteers and young people with essential skills and knowledge, providing a connection to this heritage and safeguarding these collections for the future.
This exciting programme culminated in the museum’s summer 2018 exhibition, which was themed around the outcomes of its Sea History Differently project to celebrate community work and the outstanding maritime collections at the museum.
Fine art by world renowned artists, including JMW Turner, John Constable and JS Cotman was exhibited, showcasing their outstanding watercolours and oil paintings of the beautiful landscapes of Great Yarmouth.
As well as involving local communities and encouraging new skills, Sea History Differently worked in partnership with museums up and down the east coast through the Maritime Heritage East network, particularly in developing the touring displays.