Life savers, fundraisers, trailblazers: discover the vital roles that women play in saving lives at sea.
Women of the RNLI at the National Maritime Museum celebrates the work of women in the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
Featuring striking photography, personal testimony and breathtaking film, the exhibition offers a window into the lives of volunteers across the UK and Ireland.
Visit the National Maritime Museum for free and be inspired by the women of the RNLI.
'The truth is, we aren’t the pioneers – others led the way. Women have always been there'
- Leonie, volunteer at Oban RNLI Lifeboat Station
Inside the exhibition
Since its foundation in 1824, the RNLI has had one mission: to save every life at sea. The organisation is entirely self-funded and relies on the tireless work of volunteers across the UK and Ireland.
2024 marks 200 years of the RNLI. In this anniversary year, Women of the RNLI shines a spotlight on the various roles that women have – and always have had – in this vital charity.
The exhibition explores the experiences of current volunteers as well as the stories of the people who paved their way. From crewmembers and lifeguards to fundraisers, mechanics and station managers, women contribute to every aspect of the RNLI’s work.
At the heart of Women of the RNLI is the photography of Jack Lowe, an artist who for almost a decade has been documenting the crews and views of every RNLI lifeboat station. His evocative images, captured using Victorian glass-plate technology, allow us to see the modern work of the RNLI through an historic lens.
Together with the voices and experiences of RNLI volunteers, Women of the RNLI provides a personal perspective on a lifesaving institution.
Whitby RNLI lifeboat volunteer, 2017
Kinghorn RNLI lifeboat volunteers, 2019
Filey RNLI Lifeboat Station
Ballycotton RNLI lifeboat volunteers, 14th September 2017
West Mersea RNLI lifeboat station volunteer, 2015
Aberystwyth RNLI volunteers, 2016
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Plan your visit
How to book
Women of the RNLI is free as part of your visit to the National Maritime Museum. Book Museum tickets online in advance to guarantee entry and receive information about your visit via email.
Visiting the National Maritime Museum
The National Maritime Museum is a short walk from the centre of Greenwich, with regular DLR, rail, bus and river services available.
Women of the RNLI is located in the Special Exhibitions gallery, close to the Greenwich Park entrance to the Museum.
Please note that from March 2024 until Summer 2025 parts of the National Maritime Museum will be closed while we carry out improvements to the Museum's roof. The exhibition space however will remain open throughout.
Find useful information about facilities and access at the National Maritime Museum, including guidance for disabled visitors coming to any of our sites.
Eat and drink
The Parkside Café is a bright and airy space at the National Maritime Museum with expansive views of Greenwich Royal Park. There is plenty of seating, both indoor and outdoor. Grab a hot or cold drink, and a selection of sandwiches and cakes - perfect for a picnic in the park.
Make the most of your visit
Choose your tickets
Women of the RNLI is included with free entry to the National Maritime Museum. Book tickets online in advance to guarantee entry and receive updates before your visit.
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|Family: from £60
|Family: from £70