Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude


This exhibition has now ended. Ships, Clocks & Stars ran from 11 July 2014-4 Jan 2015.


National Maritime Museum

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      Proudly sponsored by

United Technologies



Award-winning exhibition - now ended

Described as “visually stunning” by the judges, we’re proud to announce that Ships, Clocks & Stars has won the British Society for the History of Science’s Great Exhibitions Competition for 2014.

Marking the 300th anniversary of the passing of the Longitude Act in July 1714, Ships, Clocks & Stars told the extraordinary story of the race to determine longitude (east-west position) at sea, helping to save seafarers from terrible fates including shipwreck and starvation.

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Longitude Act and exhibition highlights

Exhibition highlights included the original Longitude Act of 1714 on public display for the first time ever, and a rare opportunity to see all five of John Harrison’s now legendary timekeepers together, the first to allow accurate timekeeping at sea.

Recommended Read

Ships, Clocks & Stars: The Quest for Longitude

This beautifully illustrated book is the official publication of the exhibition and unravels in detail the stories behind how the longitude problem was solved. Follow the quest to solve the world’s biggest challenge and the battle for the huge rewards of up to £20,000. Explore the rivalries and ingenious inventions of some of the greatest minds of the 17th and 18th centuries including Galileo, Isaac Newton, Captain Cook and John Harrison. Centuries later, the science they developed still influences critical areas of modern life, from satnav and mobile phones to international time zones.

Take home a memento

Treat yourself to a Longitude souvenir.

What's on show

Harrison's H1 timekeeper
A rare opportunity to see all five of Harrison's celebrated timekeepers together

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Location spotlight

Sammy Ofer Wing (location spotlight)

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