A one-day conference celebrating the last 20 years of the Newport Medieval Ship Project and charting the way ahead

About this event

The 20th Anniversary Conference will be held at the Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre in the heart of Newport, you will actually be sitting on top of the findspot of the ship. Following an overview of the history of the ship project and current state of research and conservation, representatives from other major maritime heritage projects and museums will be presenting the journey of their respective attractions and discussing the opportunities and challenges associated with bringing major heritage projects to final display. Leading figures from the Mary Rose Museum, National Waterfront Museum, SS Great Britain and CADW will demonstrate the many positive impacts heritage can have on local communities and wider society. This event is part of the 20th anniversary programme delivered by Newport City Council and the Friends of the Newport Ship.


9:15am – 9:45am Registration and Refreshments

10:00am – Welcome

10:15am – 11:00am “The Newport Ship 20 years on” - Toby Jones and Nigel Nayling

Since the discovery of the Newport Medieval Ship in 2002, archaeologists and conservators have been working steadily to carefully record, analyse and preserve the hull and artefacts of this remarkable medieval find. As this stage nears completion, attention is turning towards plans for reassembly and display. Reassembly of an archaeological ship has never been attempted on this scale before, with numerous technical challenges to identify and overcome. This lecture will briefly look back at the history of the discovery of the ship and the subsequent research and conservation efforts, before laying out the forward plan that will culminate in the final display of the preserved hull and artefacts.

11:05am – 11:50am “Reassembly: The technical challenges….explaining digital representation – initial thoughts on support structure” – Pat Tanner

The Newport Medieval Ship project from its earliest stages has embraced a fusion of traditional shipwright and ship-building knowledge with the latest advances in digital documentation and digital reconstruction methodologies. The digital reconstruction and seafaring analysis have provided a valuable insight into the ship itself, both its construction and its potential use. The digital three-dimensional reconstruction of the vessel has provided a valuable basis for artistic renderings, as well as digital assets such as the interactive digital “game” and a virtual reality walk-through of the reconstructed ship.

11:55am – 12:40pm “When does a new museum’s opening end?" – Steph Mastoris, Head of the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea, Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museums Wales

Every new heritage attraction opens with a celebration, but how long can the excitement last and when does the ‘new’ become commonplace? These challenges will be discussed using Steph Mastoris’s experience from overseeing the first 18 years in the life of the National Waterfront Museum, Swansea.

12:45pm – 1:30pm LUNCH

1:35pm – 2:20pm “Mary Rose: 40 years on” – Dominic Jones

2:25pm – 3:10pm “The Incredible Journey: Brunel's SS Great Britain” – Tim Bryan, Director of Brunel Institute

The SS Great Britain tells the story of one of Britain's greatest engineers Isambard Kingdom Brunel and one of the most important ships in maritime history. In 1970 the SS Great Britain Project brought the rusting shell of the ship home from the Falkland Islands and began the task of preserving and interpreting its story. The 'project' became the SS Great Britain Trust, who now run an award-winning world class visitor attraction which is Bristol's number one visitor destination centred around a lovingly restored ship, a leading research and learning centre, two museums and a purpose-built conference facility.

3:15pm – 4:00pm Cadw

4:05pm – 4:15pm Close

4:30pm – 5:30pm – Friends of Newport Ship AGM

Ticket price includes hot drinks on arrival and buffet lunch. If you wish to purchase tickets through an organisation then please contact [email protected] to arrange.