Due to uncertainty around changing COVID regulations and the potential impact of sickness within our teams; NMRN may be required to adjust opening hours or close sites at short notice. Whilst all efforts will be made to avoid this and to contact ticket holders ahead of visits we do ask you to check our Facebook and Twitter accounts for details of closures. We apologise for any inconvenience this may cause and thank you for your understanding. 

Pre-booking is advised, and visitors must wear masks for their safety and the safety of others, unless exempt.

HMS Caroline remains temporarily closed. Find The Latest COVID-19 Updates Here.


Black History Month

Black History in the Royal Navy

Join the National Museum of the Royal Navy in marking Black History Month 2020 by exploring the links between black history and the Royal Navy.

Over the course of the month we are featuring a series of broadcasts which share some of the stories of black history which are held in our incredible Collections. Each broadcast will focus on an individual with a connection to the Royal Navy, and will feature curators from the Museum in conversation with leading experts from across the UK. Together they will critically examine the role of the Royal Navy and those who served in it, and highlight the contribution of black sailors at defining moments in Naval history.

Discussions will include the role of the Royal Navy in fighting against the slave trade off the West Coast of Africa, the experiences and representation of the first black Captain, John Perkins, how the copy of a letter written by Nelson was used by anti-abolitionists and the role of black sailors at the battle of Trafalgar.

This programme celebrates black histories through the objects and archives in our care and builds upon the thoughts put forward in our summer blog, Nelson on  a Pedestal. In our final ‘In Conversation Piece’, all of our contributors come together to reflect upon how to build upon these stories and themes to enhance the wider understanding of black history and the Royal Navy in the future.

In Conversation: Examining the Evidence │PODCAST

Join our four contributors, Ray Costello, author and historian, Martyn Downer, author and independent specialist in Nelson artefacts and art, Ellie Ikiebe, Independent Heritage Interpreter and Dr Mary Wills, historian and honorary fellow of the Wilberforce Institute, University of Hull in conversation. Ray, Martyn, Ellie and Mary discuss how sources can and have been interpreted to build up a picture of black history within the Royal Navy.



Black Sailors at the Battle of Trafalgar │PODCAST

This podcast features Dr Ray Costello, historian and author of Black Salt, talking to Andrew Baines, The National Museum of The Royal Navy’s Deputy Executive Director for Museum Operations and Curator of HMS Victory about black sailors at the Battle of Trafalgar. Ray reveals the presence of black sailors at the battle and provides insights into the lives of some of these individuals.



Nelson and Slavery: The Key Piece of Evidence

In this video the Executive Director of Operations for the Museum, Matthew Sheldon, meets with Lord Nelson Specialist and Author Martyn Downer, to discuss a new letter that has come to light and raises questions around Nelson’s views on the slave trade.


Interpretation Matters: The Royal Navy’s Black Captain | PODCAST

Ellie Ikiebe, Independent Heritage Interpreter, talks with Nicholas Ball, The National Museum of The Royal Navy’s Archaeological Data Manager about John Perkins, the Royal Navy’s first black captain. Ellie and Nick discuss the sources that tell us about Perkins’ life and what that means for how we view history.


The Key Role of African Seamen in the Royal Navy's Anti-Slavery Campaign

As part of our series taking a closer look into black history within the Royal Navy, Dr Mary Wills explores the role of black Africans in the West Coast of Africa Squadron.

Watch her discussion with National Museum of the Royal Navy Senior Curator Victoria Ingles where they examine an engraved scrimshaw from the Museum’s collection.

Learn more about the history of this eighteenth century squadron in a guest blog Dr Mary Willis.






Support Us

We need your support to help the museum continue its mission to preserve our naval treasures for future generations.





Stay Connected

Stay Connected

Be the first to hear about exhibitions, events, conservation projects, fundraising activities and more from the National Museum of the Royal Navy.







White BG