Maritime Archaeological Collections and Public Engagement in Florida: An Ocean of Opportunity

Author(s): Nicole Grinnan; Michael Thomin

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Touching the Past: Public Archaeology Engagement through Existing Collections" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

With the second longest coastline in the United States, Florida has a maritime past that spans at least 14,000 years of human habitation. Archaeological collections from prehistoric middens, colonial-era shipwrecks, and industrial coastal communities, among a variety of other maritime and submerged sites, demonstrate this long history. As a leader in archaeological education and outreach in the state of Florida, the Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) seeks to engage the public with maritime history and archaeology in thoughtful and energetic ways. While each public audience requires a unique approach, utilizing archaeological collections has been one of the most successful ways of bridging the disparity that many people feel between past and present, intangible and tangible. FPAN’s citizen science programs, STEAM workshops, and educator seminars have thus all benefited from the use of maritime collections as "real" representations of the past. Program assessment has also shown that sensory connections created through access to artifacts can reinforce and reinvigorate interpretive themes and messages. This paper reflects on FPAN’s most recent efforts to involve the public in archaeology with collections specifically from maritime and submerged sites, including thoughts on the uses of technology to enhance future engagement with collections across broader audiences.

Cite this Record

Maritime Archaeological Collections and Public Engagement in Florida: An Ocean of Opportunity. Nicole Grinnan, Michael Thomin. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 451640)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -93.735; min lat: 24.847 ; max long: -73.389; max lat: 39.572 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25550