£4.7m Endeavour Galleries open at London's National Maritime Museum

A world of adventure in the Polar World gallery Credit: Hufton+Crow. Courtesy of the National Maritime Museum & Casson Mann
Uncover tales of pirates, intrepid explorers and voyages of discovery from pole to pole.

The Endeavour Galleries at the National Maritime Museum, supported by £4.7million from the National Lottery, are now home to over 1,100 artefacts and many more stories of British maritime heritage.

Free to visit

The galleries are free to visit, with each exploring a different time period or theme. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Chart the emergence of Britain as a maritime nation between 1500 and 1700 in the Tudors and Stuart Seafarers gallery. It includes the Drake Cup, which celebrates Sir Francis Drake’s circumnavigation of the globe
  • In the Pacific Encounters gallery, see paintings of Captain Cook’s voyages and learn about the encounters between Europeans and people of the Pacific Ocean
  • In the Polar Worlds gallery, hear the stories of those who explored the Arctic and Antarctic from the Victorian era to the present day – including Franklin and Shackleton. The gallery also charts the impact of humans on the changing polar climate
  • Explore what the sea means to you and add your own stories in the Sea Things gallery

Take a voyage of discovery

A key theme of the National Lottery project was to bring the maritime collection to life for as many people as possible. While the galleries were under construction, museums across the country hosted events and activities and many different groups helped to co-create content for the galleries.

The opening offers another exciting opportunity to get involved.

Why not take a look behind the scenes with the National Maritime Museum’s conservators? A series of short films shows how objects were conserved and prepared for the galleries including; the opening of Francis Drake’s treasure chest, the preparation of a 19th-century polar suit and how a polar bear figure head was restored to its former glory.

The doors will open to the Endeavour Galleries on Thursday 20 September with a weekend packed full of events for all the family.

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