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. We are currently working towards making a full catalogue of our collections accessible online.
The National Small Boat Collection
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 30ft (14.2m) is set for the collection although there are exceptions. A collection of objects and archives support the National Small Boat Collection.
The Cornish Maritime 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 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 Museum has a large collection of objects, boats and archives. The majority of the collection is held in store.
If you would like to make an appointment to view objects which are not on display, please email firstname.lastname@example.org outlining the type(s) of objects you would like to view
Conservation and restoration
Our conservation and restoration team is always working away to ensure that our collection is in tip-top condition. Their aim is preserve our boats, pictures and objects for the enjoyment and education of this and future generations. As its name suggests, our boat team concentrates on our fleet of boats, the majority of which are now ‘dry’ – no longer on the water – having being given a graceful retirement in the care of our experts. These boats form the core of the displays you will see in the Museum. Others are ‘wet’, and are kept on the water or are restored so that they can to return to the water. This is always more expensive but allows them to be shown as they were intended by their designers and builders. When not on display our collection of objects and pictures are kept in a purpose-built store. This meets the highest standards, with constant monitoring for optimum environmental conditions, infestation or physical damage. If you feel able to make a contribution to this important work then please visit the donations page.