You can find almost anything on YouTube—music videos, television clips, home improvement how-tos and craft tutorials, product reviews and computer user tips. And particularly since the initial pandemic response closed public spaces and limited travel two years ago, our museum ships, maritime museums and other historic sites have been innovating ways to use this platform to teach, to engage, and generally to connect with friends and supporters old and new. Now that most museums are open to the public again and travel is easier, an in-person visit is still the best way to experience a museum, lighthouse, or ship—but the expanded opportunities of online resources continue to offer us a wealth of information and connections to the maritime community.
Museums have taken to YouTube to offer us a peek behind the scenes, whether it’s a portion of a museum ship that is typically closed off to the public, an item in the collection but not on public display, or even a video of staff or volunteers performing maintenance. Videos of vessels during restoration provide us with many “so that’s how they do that!” moments. The New Bedford Whaling Museum shares with us, through its YouTube channel, the remarkable marathon reading of Moby-Dick, and in the same manner we are able to overcome the limitations of travel and time zones and listen to lectures, panel discussions, and other presentations hosted by institutions around the world. Our own NMHS YouTube channel currently enables us to share videos of many of our recorded seminars, as well as profile videos of recent honorees from our awards dinners, produced by vice chair Richardo Lopes of Voyage Digital Media.