“The collections are the wellspring of the institution’s ability to illuminate historical fact with human data, to make the nation’s and, by extension, the world’s maritime heritage come alive with real objects, held, and used, and smoothed by human hands. They give all a sense of our past and a compass point for our future. They are the time capsules of generations of mariners and those who waited for them to return from the illimitable, unforgiving power of the sea.”
The Mariners’ Museum, 1994
About Collections Management
At The Mariners’ Museum and Park, Collections Management handles all of the 3D objects and 2D works of art within the Collection. There are over 32,000 pieces in the collection, including ship models, figureheads, scientific and navigation instruments, full-size boats, a wide variety of artwork, and much more! These are the objects of material culture made and used by mariners from all over the world throughout the years. And it’s our responsibility to care for the collection so that future generations can access their rich histories.
Can I see an object in storage?
We want to make our Collection as accessible as possible, so we welcome scheduled visits into our storage areas. If you have a particular object you want to see, review our catalog and send us the identifying accession number. In some cases, objects are too large or not as easily accessible, so let us know what you want to see, and we’ll do our best to make it happen. You can make an appointment to see materials currently in storage by contacting the Collections staff.
How can I get information on an object I have?
The Collections staff can help identify objects and undertake simple research to provide additional information about an object’s history. To begin the process, please send a thorough description of your object (including inscriptions or marks), provide an overview of any known history or provenance, and several clear and detailed photographs to the Collections Department. Upon receipt, someone will forward the inquiry to the appropriate curator or researcher, who will send an answer as quickly as possible.
If you have questions about access to any other materials within the Museum’s Collection, please refer to the Research Services page for the appropriate contact information.
The Mariners’ Museum
100 Museum Drive, Newport News, VA 23606