The box that changed the world

The nation’s lifeline, James Thomson, 1991. Reproduced courtesy James Thomson. ANMM Collection 00033939 Gift from James Thomson

Visit this free, outdoor show in October and discover the secrets of the box that changed the world.

  • A First-Ever Outdoor Exhibition

    This spring the museum will present an exciting outdoor exhibition that explores the history and impact of one of the 20th century’s most important innovations: the humble shipping container.

    Colourful metal boxes will be scattered like giant Lego pieces around the wharves and outdoor spaces in what will be the museum's very first outdoor exhibition. Each box will reveal the secrets of how the shipping container has shaped our modern world, changing the way we produce, shop, eat, work and live.

    Think Inside The Box

    Ubiquitous, standardised and universal, it’s easy to take the shipping container for granted. But some economists say this unassuming box has done more for global trade than every trade agreement signed over the past 50 years. 

    The container revolution began with the sailing of the Ideal-X in 1956, and in just over a decade had the makings of a global phenomenon as shipping became cheaper and faster than ever before. After more than 70 years, the sturdy container has stood the test of time, with up to 35 million on the ocean today.

    This unique, free exhibition will run for twelve months at the museum before the containers continue their voyage around regional New South Wales.

    Coming 26 October

     Image: The nation’s lifeline, James Thomson, 1991. Reproduced courtesy James Thomson. ANMM Collection 00033939 Gift from James Thomson


    Open daily, 9.30am–5pm, from 26 October 2017.

    Included in the Free Galleries Ticket.

    See our Admissions page for full price information and to book your tickets. Our Plan Your Visit page has everything you need to know about a trip to the museum.

    Become a Maritime Museum Member and receive FREE or discounted entry to all our events and exhibitions, as well as many other benefits.

    Container a preview image of the exhibition
    A preview of Container: The Box that Changed the World


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    Supported by the USA Bicentennial Gift Fund.

        Major Sponsor

    NSW Ports Port Botany Port Kembla logo




    ACFS Port Logistucs DP World Australia logo Maritime Container Services logo Smit Lamnalco logo



    Shipping Australia Limited logo NSW Government Transport for NSW logo


                       Containers supplied by

                       Precinct Partner

      Royal Wolf     Darling Harbour logo Property NSW

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