Explore The Museum's Collection

Items from the DUNBAR shipwreck collection, 1820s - 1850s. ANMM Collection. Purchased with the assistance of the Andrew Thyne Reid Trust.

The National Maritime Collection currently contains around 140,000 documented objects and artefacts that represent the breadth of Australia's maritime heritage.

  • About


    The Australian National Maritime Museum began collecting maritime artefacts long before it opened its doors in 1991. The National Maritime collection contains a rich and diverse range of historic artefacts and contains over 140,000 objects.

    Collection themes are based on Australian’s changing relationship with the maritime environment, its seas, coastlines and inland waterways, and aims to reflect the maritime history and contemporary maritime experiences of all Australians.

    The museum aims to preserve, make available, develop and disseminate information relating to Australian maritime history and as a result each item in the National Maritime collection is digitised in our collection management database. A selection of these have been made available for members of the public to search.

    Search the Collection

    The museum’s official collection is known as the National Maritime Collection and it can be searched online:

    View Collection Items on Google Cultural Institute

    The Charlotte Medal 1788 Silver Medallion. Collection: Australian National Maritime Museum. Photography: Andrew Frolows, ANMM.

    View a great range of items from our collection, as well as exhibition photo galleries, on our Google Cultural Institute page.

    Borrow from the collection

    The Australian National Maritime Museum has an active outward loans program. Historical items from the museum’s collection are made available for loan to public and private galleries, libraries and museums for display in their exhibitions.  In the past the museum has lent items locally, to regional museums, interstate and internationally.


    Potential borrowers are required to submit a Loan Application and provide a current Facilities Report for assessment. Lending criteria is based on an organisation’s ability to provide security and meet the museum's environmental standards.

    1. Download and read our Loans Policy (PDF)
    2. Download and fill out a Loan Form (PDF)

    For more information about borrowing from our collection please email

    Ask a curator

    Our curators are happy to answer any questions about the National Maritime Collection or museum exhibitions. Please email us on and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

    Read our blog posts

    Discover some of the amazing stories behind our collection objects in the 'From the Collection' category of the museum's blog.

    Donate to the Collection

    Donate to the Australian Maritime Foundation and help the museum acquire important objects for all Australians and visitors to enjoy.

  • Photo Gallery

    Photo Gallery

    Bardi raft, created by Roy Wiggan, 1986. ANMM Collection.A life on the ocean wave, 1920s. ANMM Collection Gift from Vaughan Evans.Burning of the barque INDIA, 1841-1845. ANMM Collection.City of Perth Surf Life Saving Club man's march-past swimsuit, 1948-1954. ANMM Collection Gift from City of Perth Surf Life Saving Club.Heart shaped pin cushion 'Think of Me' : HMAS SYDNEY (I), c 1915. ANMM Collection.Women with oars on harbour, 1930 - 1935.  Photographer: William James Hall. ANMM Collection Transfer from the Mitchell Library.We're all one, colour lithographic print postcard, c 1908. ANMM Collection.Man's Chinese court robe, c 1895. ANMM Collection.Port Jackson shark maquette for 1999 New Years Eve celebrations, 2000. ANMM Collection.Carved wooden turtle from the Yolngu people, 1975. ANMM Collection Gift from Dawn Springett.Crew member of MAGDALENE VINNEN preparing sails, March 1933. ANMM Collection.Double framed sextant, 1810-1860. ANMM Collection.Scrimshaw sperm whale tooth, 19th century. ANMM Collection.William Bligh's ring, 1815-1817. ANMM Collection.The CHARLOTTE Medal, 1788. ANMM Collection Purchased with the assistance of the Australian Government through the National Cultural Heritage Account.
  • Conservation


    Learn how the museum’s conservation team preserves our collection with respect for the integrity of each object. Working to the highest standards including examination, treatment, research, documentation and training, the team makes sure that present and future visitors can learn, appreciate and enjoy our wonderful collection.


    Conservation aims to reduce damage and loss of our cultural heritage. Conservation:

    • minimises changes to our collection and objects on loan to us
    • protects these precious objects from the climate
    • slows down physical and chemical deterioration

    Conservators use 'minimal intervention' methods, aiming to stabilise the object (chemically and physically) and keep its original material. They meticulously document its condition and treatment in reports and photographs. This information is useful for the object's long-term conservation.

    When treating an object, a conservator must respect its integrity, working with materials that age well and, if possible, using reversible techniques.


    The museum has four specialist conservators. They are experts in conservation management, and the conservation of paper, photographic material, textiles, wooden, metal and composite objects, mixed collections and preventive conservation.

    We also fortunate to have four dedicated volunteers - some have been working with the conservation team for many years. Each brings distinct and highly regarded skills and abilities to their work with us.

    See a restoration of a historic picture frame, including putty made in the traditional way. Follow our Conservation blog.


    Remedial conservation

    Occasionally an item is in such fragile condition or deteriorating at such a rate, that it could be lost in a relatively short time. Remedial conservation arrests the damaging processes or reinforces the item's structure. This action sometimes modifies the item's appearance. Examples of remedial conservation are:

    • disinfestation of a textile
    • desalination of ceramics
    • deacidification of paper
    • dehydration of a wet archaeological material
    • stabilisation of corroded metal
    Preventive conservation

    This 'hands off' conservation doesn't interfere with the object or change its appearance. Preventive measures aim to stop deterioration and loss. Examples of preventive conservation include:

    • storage, handling, packing and transportation
    • environmental management (light, humidity, pollution and pest control)
    • emergency planning
    • education of staff
    • public awareness.

    Restoration only occurs when an item has lost part of its significance or function through past alteration or deterioration. In this case, we may restore the item with an eye to aiding its appreciation, understanding and use. Restoration is based on respect for the original material and usually modifies the item's appearance. Examples of restoration include:

    • retouching a painting
    • reassembling a broken sculpture
    • reshaping a basket
    • filling losses on a glass vessel.
    Professional practice

    The Conservation team at the ANMM preserves and presents the museum's collection with respect for the integrity of each object. We are directly responsible for developing protocols and procedures for the conservation, display, care and handling of the museum's collection. Our staff strives to provide the highest standards in all aspects of conservation (including examination, treatment, research, documentation and training), so that present and future visitors may learn, appreciate and enjoy our wonderful collection.

    Caring for the Collection

    The Australian National Maritime Museum's registration and photography department looks after the museum's collection and object loans.

    The role of this team also includes storage, freight, internal object movement, inventory control and the valuation program. They also assist with exhibition development and installation and help manage the museum’s digitisation program and collections and exhibitions database.

    • There are about 140,000 items in the museum's collection and without this department the artefacts would be inaccessible - physically and intellectually.
    • The photography studio produces original photography for collection identification and control, exhibition graphics, publications and promotion. It also manages the museum's large digital photographic library.
    • The department's staff holds relevant tertiary and post graduate qualifications and is skilled in the various aspects of collection management, information management and photography. Some staff members are skilled operators of heavy lifting equipment and hold appropriate certificates in this field.
    Useful downloads

  • Using Images

    Using Images

    The Australian National Maritime Museum encourages the reproduction or publication of photographs, illustrations, artworks and other objects from our collection and archives, where we own intellectual property rights. All reproductions are subject to terms and conditions. Fees may apply.


    Charges may apply for individuals, organisations or businesses reproducing or publishing photographs, art works, illustrations and drawings from the museum's collection or archives, for private use or publication (still images only). These fees help preserve our collection, and cover the time spent handling such requests.

    Typically, 2 fees may apply:

    • A reproduction/publishing fee covering a single, non-exclusive licence to use museum material.
    • A production fee for supplying copy or duplicate material, along with courier or other costs in excess of normal postage or email transmission.
    Reproduction/publishing fees (one-time non-exclusive licence)
    Student research for a recognised course, diploma, degree, etc
    No charge or production cost only
    Genealogical or private research or publication of research (substantially non-commercial)
    Build model from plan $100
    Film, video, television editorial, electronic publication $165 – $330
    Exhibition in a museum, gallery or other display (fee scaled to resource or income level of organisation) $30 – $165 
    Between covers of commercial publication, book, magazine or periodical Part page $110; full page $165; 2-page $250
    — Extended rights to include e-book edition and promotional uses +$100
    — Book or serial cover, gatefold or lift-out $330
    — Advertising (film, TV, print, display) $330
    — Poster, greetings or post card, packaging (eg CD or video slip cover) Royalty to be negotiated
    Production fees
    Source Duplicate Cost 
    Existing digitised source A4 inkjet colour print $30
    Existing digitised source A3 inkjet colour print $40
    Existing digitised source A2 inkjet colour print $60
    Any format Scan to create a digital image file for any purpose $20
    Plan or blueprint A0, A1 or A2 sheet from plan printer not currently available
    Colour transparency or negative 10 x 8 commercial colour print $44
    Any object or medium Special copy work or rephotograph object in ANMM photographic studio $125 per hour


    Images are provided subject to the following conditions:

    1. We will attempt to make images of objects, artworks, illustrations and drawings from the Australian National Maritime Museum collection or archives available for reasonable and legitimate purposes, subject to availability of staff to process your request.

    2. Images will generally be provided, and permission to use them will be granted, if the museum owns the rights to reproduce them and after any due charges have been paid.

    3. If an item is protected by copyright, and the museum is not the copyright owner, then the client must obtain permission(s) to reproduce from the copyright owner before an image can be supplied.

    4. The museum asserts ownership of rights over the skilled copy photograph used to present original works to the public

    5. The museum must be acknowledged in all publications with a printed credit such as:
    a. Reproduced courtesy of the Australian National Maritime Museum
    b. Australian National Maritime Museum photograph
    c. Photograph by [name], Australian National Maritime Museum
    d. or other wording approved by the museum.

    6. If an image is to be published, the museum may require an archive copy of the publication to be provided free of charge by the client as a condition of reproducing the image.

    7. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander material will be provided subject to the rights and wishes of the makers or original owners of such material, which will be observed by clients wishing to reproduce such material.

    8. The museum reserves the right to refuse a request if it is not satisfied that the client will abide by these or any other reasonable conditions.

    9. The museum invites anyone who believes they have rights or interests in materials in its collections and/or presented on our websites to contact us (contact details below)


    For information about licencing and reproducing images held by the museum, contact our Publications Manager:

    Phone: (02) 9298 3621
    Fax: (02) 9298 3670


    To buy a print of an artwork or photograph from the museum’s collection (which we own the right to reproduce) please visit the museum’s Shop online.


    Located right on Sydney’s stunning Darling Harbour, the museum is a fantastic shooting location with lots of fascinating action occurring behind the scenes. Film crews and photographers can apply to shoot on site or in our collection areas. Site fees apply based on the project size and what services you may need from the museum such as staff assistance, security, power etc).

    For more information please contact our Media Team.