The National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage is a governmental organisation responsible for the research of the underwater cultural heritage of Korea. Since the launch as a subsidiary organization of the Cultural Heritage Administration of Korea, the Institute has committed itself to excavations and researches of the Korean underwater cultural heritage. The Institute is dedicated to the history of maritime affairs in Korea to engage in the work of publicizing the achievements of the ancestors and the cultural heritages with the focus on the following themes – the sea, people, culture, exchange, and history.
The Institute’s missions range from the excavation and research of the Korean maritime cultural heritage to its exhibition and publication for the public. Researches carried out by the Institute are focused on various subjects: conservation, analyses, and restoration of old shipwrecks; traditional shipbuilding techniques; maritime archaeological sites and artifacts, island cultures; folk life of coastal and island communities; traditional fishery; and maritime exchanges including the maritime Silk Roads. Research results and related information are introduced to the general public as well as experts with various museum collections and historical materials through educational programs, exhibitions, publications, and the Internet.
The National Research Institute of Maritime Cultural Heritage is located in Mokpo, one of the Korea's most important historical seaports. The Institute operates two key facilities - the National Maritime Museum and the Sea Relics Storehouse. The former is specialized in the exhibition, management, education, publication, and international conferences on its collections, and the latter in the conservation treatment for, and researches of, the shipwrecks and related artifacts excavated from the 1970s to the early 2000s.