National Maritime Museum History
All people in the world can be divided into three groups – those, who are alive; those, who are dead; and those, who are at sea. To honor those, who like the sea and spend the most part of their life there, National Maritime Museum in London is opened.
No wonder, that this place was founded in the capital of Great Britain as many English sailors became popular all over the world due to their noble and very difficult work. Many English writers have described in their novels the feats of English sailors. So, when in 1934 the idea to open National Maritime Museum in London occurred in minds of some members of British Parliament, it was accepted eagerly.
Although the project of the museum was discussed and approved in 1934, it was opened only in 1937. On the 27th of April English King George VI opened the doors of a solid and noble building to anyone, who was interested in seamanship, who dreamed to share the fate of the British sailors, and of course, for those, who wanted to write their names in the history of world shipping.
From 1937 and till now the museum occupies a magnificent building that was founded in the 17th century. It is the world heritage. This building is the part of the complex that consists of three dwellings with great historical meaning each.
National Maritime Museum Exhibitions
It is simple to get lost in the sea, as well as it is simple to get lost in this museum. In general the collections of National London Maritime include 2,500,000 of exhibits. They are divided into galleries, exhibitions and thematic expositions, so it is easier to take your bearings inside, but at the same time it is impossible to look about the museum in one day. If you want to study the exhibits there thoroughly, it is better to come here several days in a row to create a holistic view of this institution.
There are several exhibitions that you shoud visit primarily, if you are short of time.
- You should see collection of different marine instruments of various centuries. Each time, when sailors put out to sea, was deadly dangerous for ancient mariners, that’s why marine equipment was of great importance to them. Astronomical instruments, instruments for determining the time and of course a compass were presented in a separate exhibition of the museum.
- The collection of portraits in National Maritime Museum is one of the largest in England. Famous British seafarers are shown there. Here you can see such famous pioneers of the sea and explorers like James Cook, Admiral Nelson and many others.
- The separate gallery in National Maritime Museum of London is devoted to Admiral Nelson. Here you can find his biography and a full description of his battles. You can admire his uniform, which he used to wear during the last fight. The uniform is torn at the shoulder. It was the area, where shrapnel hit admiral and it occurred to be fatal for him. Finally you can see his personal weapons and read the memories about the sailor, written by his friends and colleagues. You can even find out that the great admiral was suffering from seasickness – it is very unusual and interesting fact.
- There’s no sailor without weapons. A great collection of sea weapons is presented in the museum. You will be impressed by variety of daggers, swords, pistols, boarding devices and naval artillery. For the most passionate sea lovers military uniforms of different centuries are presented. It is very interesting to see the collection of caryatids – sculptures that were mounted on the bow.
- The greatest collection of books, devoted to the sea exploration is shown here. It is the most remarkable maritime library in the world, that’s why National Maritime Museum has great educational meaning too.
- One more gallery that is worth seeing includes very interesting exhibits that were taken from German museums after the World War II. These ship models and pictures were taken like war trophies, but till now the specialists tell, these exhibits were just stolen from German museums.
National Maritime Museum Opening Hours
The admission is free in this museum – it is good news. Some temporary exhibitions are paid here – it is sad news.
If you are going to take your child with you, he must be supervising. But the museum is extremely interesting to children of all ages, so don’t hesitate and take your kid here with you!
If you are going to take the company of your friends here – and there are more than 10 people in your company, it is better to call the administration of the museum in advance and to book tickets for you.
The museum is opened to guests all over the world from 10:00 till 17:00. There are no days off here, so come anytime you like. If it is some bank holiday or Christmas day – check beforehand, if it is affordable on that day.
The museum is located in the heart of London. The prime meridian runs here. It is not hard to get to the huge and solid building of the museum.
You can do it by bus. If you get this kind of transportation, look for numbers 177, 180, 188, 199, 286, 386.
If you plan to come here by underground, get off at the station, called “Cutty Sark”.
For the lovers of car trips, various car parks around the museum are situated. They are not expensive, extremely comfortable and can be booked in advance.
The address of Maritime Museum is Park Row, Greenwich, London SE10 9NF.
National Maritime Museum Shop and Restaurants
Of course, all the souvenirs, that are sold here, are connected with sea. Funny captain caps, frocks for men, women and children, maps, post cards and atlases can be bought there as mementoes for yourself or as gifts to your closest people.
For professional sea explorers wide selection of maritime literature is affordable at the museum shop. Some of the books can be got online.
Of course, even the most courageous travelers can become hungry. For you and your friends café is opened inside of the building. Actually, it is the Brasserie. It works daily from 10:00 till 17:00. It is possible to have great dinner here. The tastiest courses of British cuisine are served in the café.
National Maritime Museum is the real gem that is situated at the Prime Meridian. The collections here are impressive. The administration of the museum cooperates with different institutions of this kind all over the world, so expositions are renewed constantly there. Besides some of exhibits of this museum are borrowed for exhibitions in the other countries – so it is possible to see the fragments of great collections of this museum even outside England.
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