The New World Nautical Archaeology Laboratory serves as the central clearinghouse for Center for Maritime Archaeology and Conservation and Nautical Archaeology Program research projects focused on the Western Hemisphere and European expansion. The lab provides working space, computer facilities, and resources for students and scholars researching shipwrecks and topics in the New World.
The research subjects are eclectic, involving everything from sailing warships, mule-towed canal boats, early steamships, and even a two-horse-powered paddleboat, but the central theme is wooden vessels of medium to large size, along with their contents, the mariners who sailed aboard them, and the role of ships in world history. A broader interpretation of 'seafaring' is employed here, since many of the wrecks studied in the lab spent their careers on the rivers and lakes of North America.
The space is also used as the repository for Dr. Crisman's research on Lake Champlain, the Great Lakes, the Azores, Western River Steamboats, and the War of 1812.