The UK Maritime Collections Strategy (UKMCS) is the product of collaboration by a national network of bodies with significant maritime collections. It aims to encourage the identification and mapping of maritime collections in the UK in order to:

  • Identify gaps within individual collections and in the national collection
  • Facilitate joint working
  • Avoid duplication
  • Make collections more accessible to the public


  • Exchange collecting policies and work towards coordinating them, developing ‘spheres of interest’ for key collections, and making those collecting policies more widely known
  • Facilitate long-term loans for permanent displays and loans for short-term exhibitions
  • Participate in joint ventures to increase public access to collections, particularly including using information and communications technology
  • Develop policies for the sharing and exchange of maritime expertise, and promote the growth of expertise in core subjects
  • Agree to exchange or transfer collections to other museums and institutions, where this is in the best interest of public access and the promotion of collections
  • Actively explore opportunities for the sharing of resources and expertise and making those resources accessible to smaller museums and like organisations

Steering Group

The UK Maritime Collections Strategy initiative is driven forward by a steering group. This core group is made up of museums with key maritime specialisms i.e. interests and/or expertise in key areas of maritime collections and maritime subjects. Communication to the wider UKMCS network is facilitated by the Maritime Curators Group, a Subject Specialist Network.

The Steering Group, usually chaired by the Director of the National Maritime Museum (currently Kevin Fewster), meets twice annually.

Further details on the steering group can be found here.


UKMCS grew out of the UK Maritime Collections Initiative (UKMCI), an initiative in 1998-99 to map the UK’s collections.


Over the past ten years UKMCS has worked on a number of projects to map specific collection areas, notably the Marine Engineering collections mapping project of 1995.

Maritime Curators Group

The Maritime Curators Group is a subject specialist network of individuals working with maritime collections, which meets twice annually with the aim of fostering a community of interest amongst maritime curators.

UK Maritime Heritage Forum

The UK Maritime Heritage Forum (UKMHF) is an annual meeting/conference of individuals, institutions and groups with an interest in maritime heritage. It emerged from an idea at a UKMCS meeting in 2007, with the aim of bringing disparate parts of the maritime heritage community together for exchange of information and dialogue.