Treasures of the American Collection

Oil painting of the SR BEARSE as it enters Hong Kong Harbour

See over 100 rare and unique treasures acquired with the USA Bicentennial Gift Fund.

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    Where else can you see a president’s signature, a queen’s signature, rare books and paintings and a seventy-year-old gardenia in one place - but in our USA Gallery!

    These are just a few of the more than one hundred treasures we’ve assembled from the multi-million dollar American collection that celebrate 200 years of close maritime connection between the seafaring nations of the USA and Australia.

     Highlights include:

    • An American whaling ship’s passport signed by Abraham Lincoln
    • the lovingly preserved gardenia corsage given to an Australian girl by an American serviceman during World War II
    • Ron and Valerie Taylor’s cine-camera from ‘Jaws’ and their chainmail ‘sharkproof’ suit
    • Torres Strait Islander artist Glen Mackie’s massive vinyl cut print about his American great-grandfather known as Yankee Ned, who mysteriously arrived on Masig island in the 1860s, married Kudin and together built a family and a pearl shell and beche-de-mer industry. 
    • the stirring signal telegram received by USS Helm on the eve of the Battle of Savo Island in May 1942, where HMAS Canberra, three American heavy cruisers and 1077 lives were destroyed.
    • A Journal of a Voyage Around the World in His Majesty's Ship The Endeavour, published by New Yorker James Mario Magra who was on HMB Endeavour.
    • Models of revolutionary ships designed and built for the US Navy by Perth company Austal.

    Image: Oil painting on canvas by an unknown artist depicting the starboard side of the SR Bearse as it enters Hong Kong Harbour. ANMM Collection 00005647, purchased with USA Bicentennial Gift funds.

    Ticket information

    Open 9.30am–5pm.

    Included in the FREE Galleries Ticket

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