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 consists of 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.
The Museum is also part of the National Museum of the Royal Navy (NMRN) whose wider collections include items relating to the Royal Marines, Fleet Air Arm, Submarine Service, Surface Fleet and naval firepower among many other things. For more information please see the main NMRN collections page.