Sackler Gallery: Pacific Encounters

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Essential information

Opening times: 
10am - 5pm daily
National Maritime Museum

Reflect on the complex legacy of European exploration and how this has shaped the Pacific as we know it today. 


The Pacific is the world’s biggest ocean, and people have lived there for thousands of years. Learn more about British voyages to the Pacific by men such as Captain Cook that changed the world forever, and the legacies and traditions of the people living there today.

  • Experience the stories of Pacific voyages, including the HM Bark Endeavour, the first of three expeditions led by Captain James Cook in 1768.
  • Hear stories of Pacific islanders, such as Tupaia, whose knowledge of his surroundings greatly helped Cook and the success of his expeditions.
  • Behold the drua, a Fijian open ocean canoe, and explore Pacific histories of boat-building, navigation and performance.
  • Discover artistic representations of the Pacific islands and their occupants by artists such as William Hodges and George Stubbs.
  • See examples of the exploitation of Pacific land and resources through relics from the infamous story of the mutiny of the Bounty.
  • Read accounts from missionaries who introduced, and in some cases imposed Christianity on the islanders, whose practices and beliefs they tried to outlaw.

Four new galleries

The Sackler Gallery: Pacific Encounters is one of four new galleries that opened in September 2018. The other three are:

Sea Things

Kristian Gerhard Jebsen Gallery: Polar Worlds

Pigott Family Gallery: Tudor and Stuart Seafarers


This gallery is also supported by:

  • Wolfson Foundation
  • Dr Lee MacCormick Edwards Foundation