Past exhibitions

Nelson & Napoleon animated image
This exhibition explored the lives of two dominant leaders and adversaries, Horatio Nelson and Napoleon Bonaparte.
Beside the seaside
Photographs, posters and seaside memorabilia capturing the essence of both working life and early tourism along the British coast.
Salamandre
Toy Boats showcased over 100 colourful and imaginative toys recalling grand liners, submarines and battleships.
High Arctic
The Museum commissioned United Visual Artists to convey the ocean’s scale, beauty and vulnerability in an era of global climate change.
Tattoo
An exhibition bringing together a range of objects to illuminate the history, development and diversity of tattooing over the past 200...
Renee Green 001 cropped
A new commission from Renée Green which draws attention to literary, historic and sonic imaginations of islands.
Alan Villiers (1903-82)
A display of evocative photographs by Alan Villiers (1903–82) depicting life on merchant sailing vessels in the 1920s-30s.
Phoenix (Square Sail Shipyard)
An exhibition that runs alongside BBC Four's new series, 'Boats that Built Britain', part of the Sea Fever Season.
In Saturn's Shadow
A unique exhibition of NASA images from the Cassini-Huygens mission revealing the beauty of Saturn, its rings and moons.
Elizabeth I
This exhibition brought together personal items, paintings, manuscripts and exhibits to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Elizabeth's...
A transit of Venus occurs only twice every 113 years. This exhibition celebrated the early expeditions to observe this phenomenon.
North West Passage thumb
An exhibition drawing on the extraordinary stories surrounding the 19th-century British Arctic expeditions.
This exhibition celebrated William Hodges, the 18th-century landscape artist, contexturalising his work in British global maritime...
The exhibition focuses on the expeditions of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton and the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen.
The Sun
An exhibition of striking images telling the story of our attempts to understand the nature of the Sun and its effects on Earth.
'Given' presents a series of newly-commissioned works that take as their starting point a very particular journey.
Tintin and Snowy
31 March–5 September 2004. This exhibition commemorated the 75th anniversary of Tintin's first adventure.
Halley's Holiday
Welcome aboard the Halley Space Shuttle for a trip through our Solar System. Which planet would you like to visit for the holiday of a...
Image of Titanic in dock
March–October 2012. A small exhibition using unique objects from the collection to commemorate the centenary of the sinking of the 'Titanic...
Ansel Adams: Photography from the Mountains to the Sea
9 November 2012–28 April 2013. Ansel Adams’s unique approach to photography, featuring pictures of water in all its forms.
John Bull Taking a Luncheon - or - British Cooks Cramming Old Grumble-Gizzard with Bonne Chére (thumb)
Opening 19 October 2012. The history of the Royal Navy of the late 18th and early 19th centuries through the acerbic wit of contemporary...
Promo panel - Sailor Chic
A special exhibition celebrating the enduring influence of nautical styles on fashion.
Opening 27 April 2012, an exhibition exploring the relationship between monarch, City and people, as brought to life on the Thames.
Freeze Frame
Freeze Frame was a display of some of the earliest photographs of the Arctic, its landscape and people.
Play
Our new photographic exhibition reflects the joys and trials of the heyday of cruising, 1925-70.
The Shepherd Gate Clock
2007 marked 100 years since British Summer Time was first proposed. But why change the clocks; which way; and whose idea was it?
Visions of the Universe
Wander through beautiful galaxies, spectacular nebulae and millions of shimmering stars in this breath-taking collection of some of the...
Measuring the Universe
How astronomers have tried to understand the size of the cosmos, and how each breakthrough has made the Earth seem ever smaller.
From meteor showers to asteroids, Earth is constantly bombarded from space. This free exhibition looks at these fiery visitors and their...
A Dutch ferry boat before a breeze by Simon de Vlieger
An exhibition celebrating the National Maritime Museum’s unrivalled collection of 16th- and 17th-century Dutch and Flemish maritime...
Simon Patterson
Simon Patterson’s artwork explores the sea, ships and time, concepts that are at the heart of NMM collections and research.