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Discover the Collection

Find your Connection!

What is a maritime museum, and what does it have to do with you? Our vast Collections explore people, places, ships, art, cultures, and more throughout time and all over the world! We want to help you discover your connection to the world’s waters, so take a look at the highlights below.

Do you love art?

Our Collection features artwork from around the world throughout history! We have paintings, prints, and drawings of different ports, seascapes, ships, people, and events. We also have all kinds of 3-dimensional art objects, including ship models, decorative arts, and figurehead carvings. You might be interested in a particular artist like James Buttersworth, August Crabtree, or Fitz Henry Lane – we have those and many others!

The Shuai pirates boat or dhow

Beyond the Frame

We are all connected, even through maritime art!

This inspiring series takes you behind the scenes to explore our vast art collection like we’ve never done before. Experience the raw beauty of the brushstrokes, the intimate portrayal of people, daring rescues at sea, the power of our world’s waters, and so much more. New episodes are shared on our social media channels the first Friday of each month!

Black and white image of a large sail boat at sea.
Endeavour II (Yacht: 1936)

Do you love to play on the water?

Maybe you love to fish, sail, kayak, or go on a cruise? Playing on or near the water is always an adventure! The Mariners’ Collection features boats from around the world. Explore the types of boats folks have used to sail, paddle, race, or motor around in – from a walrus-skin kayak to a racing speedboat to the boat that won the 2013 America’s Cup! The next best thing to getting out on the water is spending time searching our Collection of boats and images.

The submarine telephone is now a conspicuous part of the properly equipped divers outfit, c.1911, Robert G. Skerrett Collection. MS0163-01-0431

Do you love photography? 

Whether you’ve perfected the selfie, dabbled in wildlife or landscape photography, or mastered any form of photography, you’ve captured moments that become timeless treasures. Check out our Collection, where you’ll find an incredible trove of images focusing on a broad array of history and heritage! These photos not only capture important moments, places, people, or events; many of them are just pure artistic expressions. Any maritime topic you can imagine we probably have an image of it. A baseball game played at the North Pole? Yep, we have that! So, what will you find? 

Black sailors in dress whites uniform playing music.
Black sailors in dress whites uniform playing music.

Are you curious about your family’s history?

We might be able to help you uncover your family’s maritime history! Did your parents or grandparents serve in World War II? We have photographs of a lot of US Navy ships, ship manifests, and logs that will provide information about their service. Did you know that Newport News was one of the largest ports of embarkation, transporting troops and material from the United States over to fight in Europe during both World Wars? Our Collection features a vast amount of images and information about the Hampton Roads Port of Embarkation.

Search our Collections

Ready to jump in and discover your connection? 

Have a particular Collection you’re interested in?

Hop over to our Research Services page to discover more of our vast Collection, and find out how you can connect with our team if you need assistance. 

Need help?

If you would like assistance exploring our Collections, the best way to contact us is to complete our online form with your request. We should reply to you within 72 hours.

We look forward to connecting with you!

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