Character Encounters

Essential information

Event type: 
Date and time: 
Saturdays | 12.00, 13.00, 14.00, 15.00
National Maritime Museum, Lower Ground, Sammy Ofer Wing

Join an exciting performance and journey bringing maritime history to life.

Join us each Saturday to meet a different character from history with their own fascinating story to tell about our collections!

James Robson

Explore Traders: the East India Company and Asia gallery with James Robson, a Chinese lascar (sailor) who served on the fastest and greatest of the tea clippers, Cutty Sark. Find out about the struggles of the tea trade between Britain and China on your journey, and the impact of the 19th-century Opium Wars on both countries.

James Robson is an important character in revealing hidden British Chinese histories, and his story relates to Traders, our permanent gallery on the British East India Company.

Find out more about Traders: the East India Company and Asia gallery

John Simmonds

John Simmonds (1783–1858), was a black sailor who served with Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, 1805. Developed with John’s descendants and using over 40 years of family research, the performance will take you on a journey through the museum, from Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle by Yinka Shonibare MBE, to the Nelson, Navy, Nation gallery.

John Simmonds plays an important part in bringing hidden black British histories into the mainstream, and exploring the histories of the culturally diverse crews that the British navy relied upon.

More about Nelson's Ship in a Bottle

Discover more about the Nelson, Navy Nation gallery


The sea is a dark and mysterious place: join the Sea King Neptune to learn about the mysterious, mythological beings associated with the sea. He’ll take you on a journey around the National Maritime Museum, on which you’ll learn about how and why figureheads were on ships; and about sailors’ superstitions.

From ancient Greek and Roman epics to British folk tales and popular superstitions today, find out about mythology in all its forms.

Pearl Morris

Meet Pearl Morris, a Caribbean woman who travelled to Britain in 1948 on the Empire Windrush, a passenger liner that brought one of the first large groups of post-war West Indians to the United Kingdom. A matron of the Windrush Generation, Pearl will tell you what life was like for a Caribbean woman in Britain in the 50s, and how she made this island her home.

Suitable for 6+.

Tom Crean

Meet explorer ‘The Irish Giant’ Tom Crean and hear of his perilous adventures to the Antarctic in this actor character session for all ages.

Suitable for ages 5+

Tamara the Time Traveller

Join Tamera as she travels through time and place exploring stories of encounter, exploration and endeavour across the Tudor and Stuart Seafarers, Polar Worlds, Pacific Encounters and Sea Things exhibitions. 

Discover more about these new galleries.