Abstract The contentious relationship between cultural heritage professionals and commercial entities is nowhere more fraught than in underwater archeological sites. More and more often, museums are drawn into this conflict through hosting traveling exhibitions. This article explores the ethical issues in two shipwreck exhibitions, Shipwrecked: Tang Treasures and Monsoon Winds, and Real Pirates: The Untold Story of the Whydah from Slave Ship to Pirate Ship, and the specific responses museums have made to address the ethical issues around commercial exploitation of cultural heritage. The article calls for museums to be more thoughtful and deliberate consumers, and embrace their potential as safe venues for exploring ethical dilemmas these sites embody.
- Edward Rodley
Article first published online: 9 OCT 2012