Collections at National Museum of the Royal Navy


The National Museum of the Royal Navy collections are formed from its constituent Museum collections: Royal Marines Museum, Royal Navy Submarine Museum, Fleet Air Arm Museum, Explosion! Museum of Naval Firepower and the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Portsmouth. This includes over 1,113,000 archival items; 16,000 items of uniforms and badges; 15,000 medals and other decorations; 2,000 weapons and armaments; 2,296,000 photographs; 1,050 sound and film recordings and 10,000 works of art and models. More details on the collections can be seen below. Also, the Museum’s collection of oil paintings can be viewed online
It also includes a significant collection of Historic Ships. The following vessels in this collection form part of the National Historic Fleet: HMS Alliance (A Class Submarine); Holland 1 (Submarine); HMS Caroline (Light Cruiser); HMS Victory (Ship of the Line); HMS M33 (Monitor); Landfall (ex-Landing Craft Tank LCT 7074). Affiliated collections: HMS Trincomalee (Frigate) and HMS Unicorn (Frigate) are also part of the National Historic Fleet.

Royal Marines Museum

The Museum depicts the history of the Royal Marines from 1664 to the present day through a unique collection of artefacts, pictures and documents. One of the most outstanding collections is the medal collection consisting of over 8000 items including gallantry, campaign and foreign awards. Over 80% of this can be seen on display in the Medal Room. The Museum also has a notable paintings collection some of which can be seen hanging in the Minstrel’s Gallery.  Most of the Museum’s collections have been generously donated by the public or serving and former Royal Marines creating a strong emphasis on individuals and their stories.  Contemporary material is also displayed allowing visitors to appreciate the extraordinary acts of heroism and bravery of Royal Marines deployed around the world today.

Royal Navy Submarine Museum

The Museum tells the story of the Royal Navy Submarine Service from its earliest days at the start of the 20th Century through to the modern nuclear powered fleet is told in this Museum.  Three submarines – HMS Alliance, Holland I and X24 – form the core of this Museum’s unique collection. There are many other items including photographs, documents, ship plans and artefacts to supplement these vessels and also tell the broader story of the service.

National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth

The National Museum of the Royal Navy Portsmouth holds an extensive collection relating to the history of the Royal Navy consisting of library and manuscripts, oral history and sound recordings, photographs, visual art, artefacts and items relating to the history of the WRNS. In particular, the Manuscript collection includes items assembled by donation or purchase since 1952 and items from the Admiralty Library that are administered by the Museum. The Oral History and Sound Recording collection includes interviews with men and women of the Royal Navy focusing on their personal experience, both in war and peace, and of naval life during the 20th and 21st centuries. The Museum’s Photographic Collection covers the period from the beginnings of photography in the 1850s to the present day covering prints and albums depicting a broad range of naval history. The well-known and long established Wright & Logan Collection of warship portraits from 1924-19 of over 22,000 negatives forms part of this collection. The Visual Art Collection is approximately 3,200 items including works of all kinds relating to Horatio Nelson. In 1987, the WRNS collection was transferred from the Director of WRNS Office and since then has grown to number over 5,000 items. The most varied of the Museum’s collections is the Artefact Collection. It includes a collection of ship relics consisting of figureheads, badges and other items, a reference collection of around 3,000 uniform badges and an extensive collection of naval medals from their inception to the present day.

Fleet Air Arm Museum

The Fleet Air Arm Museum has, since 1964, been collecting material relating to the Royal Naval Air Service, the Fleet Air Arm and its context within naval aviation in general, which are of international significance.  The Museum’s Reserve Collection, housed in Cobham Hall, a Heritage Lottery funded climate controlled building, comprises 30 historic aircraft, 2 million archive records and some 30,000 artefacts. Cobham Hall opens to the public at least once a year (Check Events for opening dates) when it attracts visitors from all over the UK to see its unique collection of aircraft, records & artefacts, many of which have never before been seen on public display.


Reproductions and Images

Reproductions of photographs, documents or audio collections are available for private use and for use in publications and broadcast media subject to a fee. Use the contact us form for all initial reproduction requests.

Images from the Wright & Logan collection of ship portraits are available to order from the museum shop.

HMS Hermes returning from the Falklands