Essential Information

National Maritime Museum

13 May 2015

Emily from our photostudio has been looking at the ongoing work to digitize our amazing collection of ship plans.

Often works of art in themselves, they also offer an incredible wealth of information. 

HMS Caroline class design plan. NPC8117 (profile view)


The museum has a vast collection of ship plans that get digitized on a weekly basis by our digital imaging officers. Many of the plans are historically interesting. One of the recent plans was HMS Caroline, the last surviving ship of the Battle of Jutland in 1916.  

Digital Imaging Officer Will, unrolling a ship plan before scanning


The scanning is completed at an offsite archive where the ship plans are stored. Due to the length of the ship plans, they are fed through a scanner that sits in the middle of a five metre length table. The added advantage of scanning at the archive is the knowledge given from Jerry and Andrew, the historic negative and ship plans curators. With HMS Caroline, Jerry explained that this was the first war that had wireless telegraphy.

The live view of the image produced by the scanner


A collection of the scanned ship plan images can be seen on the picture library website. Many members of the public order scans for use in ship model building. The scans provide high quality images that allow us to look into the smallest details of the plan.

HMS Caroline plan - a crop of the anchor


The plans are a work of art in their own right and exhibit such skill and craftsmanship. Many visitors to the museum will notice that the images are printed on vinyl and have been used in the shop and museum café.

Ship plans printed on to vinyl for the Museum Shop wall


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