National Maritime Museum

National Maritime Museum

Discovery Quay, Falmouth TR11 3QY
Tel: (01326) 313388


Sea, Boats and Cornwall

Housed in an award winning building on the Falmouth harbour-side, and opened in 2003, the National Maritime Museum transports you into the world of small boats and Cornish maritime history.

The Museum's Collections consist of a range of objects, boats, art, books and archives in support of its mission to promote an understanding of small boats and their place in people's lives, and of the maritime Heritage of Cornwall.

The National Small Boat Collection was originally developed by the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich. This is now housed in Cornwall where it has been extended by the addition of other craft. This collection is representative of boats from the UK and around the world. A maximum of length overall of 30 feet is set for the collection although there are exceptions. A collection of objects and archives support the National Small Boat Collection.

Much of the Cornish Maritime Collection came from the former Cornwall Maritime Museum in Falmouth. It contains objects, pictures, models and archives relating to the history of Cornwall, the fishing industry and the sea, and Falmouth in particular.

An important element of this collection is the material relating to the Falmouth Packet Ships which includes six watercolours by Maltese artist Cammillieri.

The National Maritime Museum is also the home for the Royal Society of Marine Artists, Diploma Collection, which consists of around 90 works of art. On appointment to the Society, a member contributes a painting to this collection which is currently on long-term loan to the Museum.

The museum has a programme of annual exhibitions including titles such as:

2003 – HRH the Duke of York officially opens the museum
2004 - The Will to Win - an exhibition of Olympic and competitive boats
2005 - Team Philips and Surf's Up - exhibitions about the round the world project and the history of surfing in the UK
2006 - Endurance and Survival
2007 - Mad Dogs, and Englishmen? - eccentric boats
2008 - Under the Sea - diving and man's attempt to work under water
2009 - Titanic, Honour and Glory
2010 - Lighthouses - Life on the Rocks
2012 - Search and Rescue - the work of the Rescue Services
2013 - We celebrate our 10th birthday
2015 – The Viking Voyagers exhibition
2016 – The Great Big Cornish Gig project launches
2017 – Tattoo British Tattoo Art Revealed and Captain Bligh: Myth, Man and Mutiny exhibitions
2018 – Titanic Stories exhibition opens
2019 – RNLI Rescue Zones opens and the Heritage Boat Tours start.


Waterside Cafe, With spectacular views over Falmouth’s magnificent harbour, the Waterside Cafe is a popular port of call for museum visitors.


On the quayside between the town and Pendennis Castle.

Opening Times

All Year
10.00am - 5.00pm

Admission Charged

Falmouth       Falmouth College of Arts Gallery       Falmouth Art Gallery       Arwenack House

Cornish Lighthouses       Cornwall's Shipwrecks