Connecting People to the Past: An Ethnographic Approach to Maritime Heritage Interpretation and Recreation

  • Irina T. Sorset
Part of the When the Land Meets the Sea book series (ACUA, volume 5)


This chapter describes the development of an ethnographic methodology for creating maritime heritage trails. Researching historical context, identifying available heritage resources, and visually assessing potential trail sites provided the foundation for establishing the interpretation potential of the Apalachicola River in the Florida panhandle. Information from community observations, community participation, free listing, group interviews, and cultural informants illuminated public opinions and attitudes. By allowing ethnographic data to steer and guide each stage of the trail model, this research was able to identify, adapt to, and address public wants and needs during the developmental stages.


Ethnographic Research Ethnographic Data Public Input Free Listing Public Archaeology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Aunger, R. (2004). Reflexive ethnographic science. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bernard, H. R. (1995). Research methods in anthropology (2nd ed.). Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bernard, H. R. (1998). Handbook of methods in cultural anthropology. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
  4. Bernard, H. R. (2011). Research methods in anthropology (5th ed.). Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
  5. Bourque, L. B., & Fielder, E. P. (2003). How to conduct self-administered and mail surveys (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  6. Cultural Heritage Tourism. (2011). Four steps for successful and sustainable cultural heritage tourism. Washington, DC: National Trust for Historic Preservation. Accessed October 16, 2011, from
  7. Gibson, J. L. (1979). Cultural investigations in the Apalachicola and Chattahoochee river valleys in Florida, Alabama, and Georgia: History, archaeology and underwater remote sensing. University of Southwestern Louisiana Center for Archaeological Studies, Project Report No. 6, Lafayette.Google Scholar
  8. Jameson, J. H., Jr., & Scott-Ireton, D. A. (2007). Introduction: Imparting values/making connections. In J. H. Jameson Jr. & D. A. Scott-Ireton (Eds.), Out of the blue: Public interpretation of maritime cultural resources (pp. 1–6). New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
  9. LeCompte, M. D., & Schensul, J. J. (1999). Designing & conducting ethnographic research. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
  10. Marth, D., & Marth, M. (1990). The rivers of Florida. Sarasota, FL: Pineapple Press.Google Scholar
  11. McGimsey, C. R. (1972). Public archeology. New York, NY: Seminar Press.Google Scholar
  12. McManamon, F. P. (2002). Heritage, history, and archaeological educators. In B. J. Little (Ed.), Public benefits of archaeology (pp. 31–45). Gainesville: University Press of Florida.Google Scholar
  13. Owens, H. P. (1975). Apalachicola before 1861. Doctoral dissertation, Department of History, The Florida State University, Tallahassee. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, MI.Google Scholar
  14. Schensul, J. J., LeCompte, M. D., Nastasi, B. K., & Borgatti, S. P. (1999). Enhanced ethnographic method: Audiovisual techniques, focused group interviews, and elicitation. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
  15. Shackel, P. A., & Chambers, E. J. (Eds.). (2004). Places in mind: Public archaeology as applied anthropology. New York, NY: Routledge.Google Scholar
  16. Sorset, I. T. (2013). Maritime heritage trails as public outreach tools: An ethnographic model for the Apalachicola River, Florida. Master’s thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of West Florida, Pensacola. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, MI.Google Scholar
  17. Spradley, J. P. (1980). Participant observation. Chicago, IL: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.Google Scholar
  18. Trotter, R. T., II, & Schensul, J. J. (1998). Methods in applied anthropology. In H. Russell Bernard (Ed.), Handbook of methods in cultural anthropology (pp. 691–735). Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.Google Scholar
  19. Turner, G. (2003). A short history of Florida railroads. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida Public Archaeology NetworkPensacolaUSA

Personalised recommendations