24/04/2019 11:39 BST | Updated 24/04/2019 12:47 BST

Scottish Maritime Museum To Use Gender Neutral Terms For Ships

Signage will no longer refer to the vessels as she/ her after vandals defaced signs twice this year.

Scottish Maritime Museum

The Scottish Maritime Museum is bringing in signs referring to ships in gender neutral terms after vandals scratched out ‘she’ and ‘her’.

It’s the second time this year vandals have targeted the “very expensive” signage.

For centuries, ships have been referred to as ‘she’ and given feminine names.

However the museum will now use “it” to describe ships in its signage and says it recognises there have been changes in society. 

Scottish Maritime Museum

The museum, which has sites in Irvine and Dumbarton, posted about the vandalism on Facebook and Twitter and invited comments.

‘We can’t afford to replace all signs but new signs are gender neutral. Get in touch, we would love to discuss it,’ the Facebook post said.

The post on Facebook was met with an angry response. 

Ian Nichol said in a comment: “Amazing that one criminal’s occasional activity can set a museum’s policy. Better hope they don’t take a dislike to any of the ships altogether, as given the apparent influence they wield, the museum would have to close itself down the next day.”

Jennifer Sorbara said people were ignorant. “This isn’t how it works you [don’t] get to erase history and like it or not ships have always been referred to as she.”

The post had a similar response on Twitter, with one user asking how the museum can delete history.

David Mann, director of the museum defended the change and said the aim of the posts were to highlight the cost of vandalism.

He said: “We have like other museums recognised changes in society and were moving to gender neutral interpretation when introducing new interpretation.

“This process was in place prior to this isolated act of vandalism by one person. As a small charity we have limited funds to replace interpretation and this vandalism means that we will be unable to spend money in other areas.

“We hope by highlighting this we will stop further acts of this nature and not incur undue expense.”