The National Maritime Museum comprises three sites: the Maritime Galleries, the Royal Observatory and the Queen's House. Together these constitute one museum working to illustrate for everyone the importance of the sea, ships, time and the stars and their relationship with people.
The National Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory, Greenwich have a collection of over two million objects about the sea, ships, astronomy and time, including over 700 items related to Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson (external link). Details and images of a large part of the collection are accessible online via the museum's website.
World Heritage Site status was awarded to Maritime Greenwich by UNESCO in 1997.
The National Maritime Museum (NMM) was formally established by Act of Parliament in 1934 and opened to the public by King George VI on 27 April 1937. It includes the 17th-century Queen's House and, from the 1950s, the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.
The museum buildings began life in 1807 as a school for the children of seafarers. The South-West Wing was built as a dining hall in 1876. The Regatta Café, extended in the 1930s and 1960s, was originally the school kitchen.
In 2009 the National Maritime Museum began work on a major new capital project: the Sammy Ofer Wing. The completion of this new facility will enable the museum to revitalise many of its galleries, exhibitions, collections, archives, visitor facilities and programmes. The new wing is due to open in time for the London Olympics 2012. The project is being funded in part through a gift of £20 million, donated by the shipping magnate and philanthropist, Sammy Ofer, KBE.