Background and aims

Led by the National Maritime Museum, in November 2010 the United Kingdom Maritime Collection Strategy (UKMCS) began a pilot project to create an online, image-based, national database of Royal Naval and merchant ship figureheads. Its aims are to record the whereabouts and history of all known figureheads, which are found throughout the UK, monitor their condition, assess their significance, and make the information widely and freely available. Although it will eventually be possible to include known information on figureheads that have for various reasons disappeared, currently only figureheads still in existence are being catalogued.

An important aspect of the project is that the website will allow visitors to record, comment on and send in photographs of figureheads they have seen. Indeed, the success of the project will depend in part on generating enthusiasm among interested individuals and encouraging them to feed information into the website. The database will be a resource of immense significance to researchers, online visitors and museums alike, both in the UK and abroad.

The project, co-ordinated by the National Maritime Museum, has been made possible through the help of volunteers.

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