Palagruza , 23.06.2012 - Regata tradicijskih brodova na 4.Festivalu Mora Rota Palagruzona u organizaciju kulturne ustanove Ars Halieutica .Na ruti od Komize do Palagruze sudionici regate jedrili su 42 nauticke mijlje kao sto su to nekada radili Komiski ribari

This purpose of this page is to highlight the work of James Bender and others who publish articles that support work in the preservation of maritime heritage.


Preservation, Pedagogy, and Programs: The Application of a Functional Methodology for the Conservation of Intangible Maritime Heritage in the Adriatic

James Bender Thesis



Part I. Content, Scope, and Methodology in the Observation of Maritime

Intangible Heritage


 Part II. Intangible Heritage in the Maritime Realm: The Pedagogy of

Functional Preservation                                                                                  42


Intangible Heritage in the Maritime Realm: The Pedagogy of Functional Preservation  

Part III. The Heritage Economy: The Role of Symbolism in the

Preservation of Technology in Dalmatian Maritime Society                         69

PART IV. The Maritime Heritage Trail: Repurposing an Existing

Interpretive Strategy for the Preservation of Intangible Heritage                   107

Conceptual development of the trail methodology for the preservation of intangible maritime heritage- A case for the Adriatic coast and islands

Short Essay – The State of Preservation 
James Bender



Nautical Heritage in Croatia as in many parts of the word remains a rich part of the coastal tapestry. Stories, songs, customs and ritual, as well as work ethic and an embodiment of cultural identity are sometimes wrapped up in the vessels that work the coast. This dissertation with be an effort to help understand the act of preservation, how it is undertaken and what lies behind our intention in preserving certain artifacts and not others. My proposal for this project is a mix between theoretical and applied research. First with a look into the philosophy of preservation discussing how and why objects and traditions are preserved, and then with a methods based approach making a case for survey as an objective form of preservation that allows the preservationist to undertake the documentation of vessels, and other nautical elements free from ascribed values, tendency and inclination.

Philosophy of Preservation
Cultural traditions and historic objects are, in Croatia, as in many other parts of the world, in danger of being lost or forgotten. This occurs for many reasons and may include lack of resources, younger generational disinterest or a generation gap (Mead1970) and a change in local technology (Bijker 1994). The focus of this paper will be to examine the nautical heritage of Croatia and to explore why in some areas there is a momentum to preserve traditions and objects such as boats, stories, and maritime arts, while in others these traditions fall by the wayside. This will also examine areas where tradition remains part of the ongoing cultural relevance without a need for the bolstering of the preservationist support structures.

What we preserve as a society is largely to due to the thoughts and insights into what has value. The value itself is assigned arbitrarily and is based on perceived ascetic value, historical importance or cultural significance.(Fitch 1990) In this paper, the goal will be to discuss the philosophy of preservation and why society chooses to preserve some objects and let other get trampled by bulldozers or destroyed by chainsaws. The research into the act of preservation will chronicle the history of preservation followed by an analysis of Croatia’s current preservation efforts in the maritime realm. Using Croatia as a case study the effort will be focused on analyzing and evaluating preservation efforts in the country, in museums, and with several grassroots organizations.

Methods Based Approach to Preservation
The second part of this dissertation will be an examination of the current state of preservation of maritime heritage in Croatia, a discussion of preservation methods and the introduction of a regional survey to justify a base line of nautical artifacts in the region. In the last few decades fiberglass and factory made boats in the country has resulted in a dwindling of usage of traditional boats in the islands and on the mainland. This effort will be to help local and regional authorities as well as community based groups to create support structures and increase awareness around the elements of maritime heritage which can be preserved. The project will be to create a map and catalog of nautical elements throughout the country and an inventory of traditional boats and boat yards in the Adriatic aquatorium.

Similar surveys have been undertaken in other locations including in Venice, Italy (Catalano 2005) and the USA. The most notable was the american servey done in the 1930’s (Delgado 1991)which was first undertaken as a project of the United States Works Projects Administration(WPA) a post depression government agency which employed several nautical architects including Howard Chapelle to completed a project called HAMMS—the Historic American Merchant Marine Survey. This country wide survey was completed between the years of 1936 and 1937. (Chappelle1960) The survey stands today as the most complete publication of nautical legacy in America. Today museums, youth groups, and local enthusiasts are constructing vessels based on Chapelle and others drawings.(Chappelle 1951)

Today, a survey of this type could be aided with digital technology and can include digital scans and GIS maps that can aid in preservation of vessels for years to come. Local and regional authorities as well as scholars and organizations would be able to refer to the survey in order to recreate vessels or artifacts as well as find vessel in need of restoration.

While the scope of the project as a country wide endeavor will be too large for an individual project, I would like to propose that the initial pilot survey will be conducted on the island of Murter. One of the homes to wooden boat construction in Croatia, it will provide be a good place to explore the modern tools and techniques of documentation and with a wealth of historical data to retrieve, this location would provide ample opportunity to appropriate different methods of data collection. With the hope that this survey can be expanded into other regions as a result of collaboration and cooperation with other scholars, agencies and groups, the ultimate goal that the entire country has a clear picture of the state of preservation of the nautical legacy of Croatia can be realized.

Conclusion- Survey Preservation
The combination of these two methods will provide not only a clear picture of the state of preservation in Croatia, but can also be applied to other regions which have a rich and diversified cultural landscape. The there are several barriers to the act of preservation including monetary limits, push for modernity and a lack of interest from younger generation. If the survey is objective, It allows for documentation regardless of constraints, and in the future people will have the ability to choose to recreate or restore based on the material in that database. It is my hope that preparing a survey approach that is easy and attainable for groups and individuals will help preserve the world nautical heritage for millennia to come.

Bijker, Wiebe, and John Law, eds. Shaping technology/building society: Studies in sociotechnical change. MIT press, 1994.

Catalano, Brian, Kristen Gervais, and Ryan Sinapius. Preserving the Nautical Traditions and Maritime Heritage of Venice, Italy. Diss. Worcester Polytechnic Institute, 2005.

Chapelle, Howard Irving. American small sailing craft, their design, development, and construction. WW Norton & Company, 1951.

Chapelle, Howard I. “The national watercraft collection.” Smithsonian National Museum (1960).

Dahl, Christopher. “Traditional marine tenure: a basis for artisanal fisheries management.” Marine Policy 12.1 (1988): 40-48.

Delgado, James P. “The National Maritime Initiative: An interdisciplinary approach to maritime preservation.” The Public Historian 13.3 (1991): 75-84.

Ess, Charles, and Fay Sudweeks. Culture, technology, communication: Towards an intercultural global village. SUNY Press, 2001.

Fitch, James Marston. Historic preservation: curatorial management of the built world. University of Virginia Press, 1990.

Glennie Murray Wall, “The National maritime Initiative,” Association for Preservation Technology Bulletin, Vol IX, Number 1, 1987, 2.

King, JoAnn Jeanelle. Howard I. Chapelle: maritime scholar and his contribution to maritime preservation. Diss. George Washington University, 1985.

Mason, Ingrid. “Virtual preservation: How has digital culture influenced our ideas about permanence? changing practice in a national legal deposit library.” Library Trends 56.1 (2007): 198-215.

Mead, Margaret, and Colin Taylor. Culture and commitment: A study of the generation gap. Published for the American Museum of Natural History, Natural History Press, 1970.

McKenzie, Matthew. Clearing the Coastline: The Nineteenth-Century Ecological & Cultural Transformation of Cape Cod. Upne, 2011.

Taggart, Robert. Evolution of the vessels engaged in the waterborne commerce of the United States. Vol. 83. No. 3. National Waterways Study, US Army Engineer Water Resources Support Center, Institute for Water Resources, 1983.
Michael, Mike. Reconnecting culture, technology and nature. Routledge, 2000.

Watson, Pamela M. “Traditional Small Boat Building Techniques, Why They Are Worth Preserving.” University of Maryland (2006).