Four new galleries

Our four new galleries at the National Maritime Museum will tell the epic true stories of pioneering global explorers and their encounters with people, places and environments across the world’s oceans.


Come behind the scenes of a major conservation effort as we get ready for the opening of the new galleries, and meet the people caring for these fascinating objects. 

With over 1,100 more objects on display, you’ll be able to uncover hidden histories, reimagine familiar stories, and reflect on your connection to the sea.

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Exploration and exploitation

Western knowledge of the world rapidly expanded when European explorers took to the seas in the 16th and 17th Centuries. They encountered a diversity of lands and cultures, leading to scientific discovery, cultural exchange and trade, as well as exploitation, war, and conflict.

  • Tudor and Stuart Seafarers tells stories of monarchs and pirates, ambition and error, and the expansion of British maritime power that paved the way for more encounters to come.
  • In Polar Worlds and Pacific Encounters, discover the challenges of navigating unknown lands, from the icy depths of the Arctic and Antarctic to the diverse array of Pacific cultures and customs. Hear the voices of the communities who lived there first, from their first meetings with Westerners to the legacy of those meetings today. 
  • In Sea Things, explore what the sea means to you through personal stories from the deep. Touch our collections with more objects on 'open display' than ever before. 
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